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Home News Latest Clearlake's proposed Measure H sales tax measure discussed at town hall meeting

Clearlake's proposed Measure H sales tax measure discussed at town hall meeting

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CLEARLAKE, Calif. – A town hall meeting was held last Wednesday for the purpose of educating the public about a ballot measure that is projected to generate more than a $1 million annually for road maintenance and code enforcement in the city of Clearlake.

City voters will be asked to consider the 1-percent transaction and use tax in November.

Seventy-five percent of the anticipated revenues will be allocated to road maintenance, with the remaining 25 percent to be directed toward code enforcement.

Measure H is the same measure voters saw last November with Measure E, according to Clearlake City Manager Joan Phillipe, who was present during the meeting along with City Engineer Bob Galusha.

The 2012 measure gained a majority vote but not the two-thirds support it needed to pass, falling about 154 votes short.

The Oct. 2 meeting was conducted in question and answer format, beginning with a presentation by the Yes on Measure H Committee and a list of most frequently asked questions.

About 60 people joined the discussion at Lake County Youth Services center on Golf Avenue, including members of the No on Measure H Committee.

The initiative is being brought back to the voters because it is suspected that the public did not receive enough information about the measure in order to make an informed decision, according to the measure's proponents.

Phillipe said it's believed that the measure could have a good chance of passing if public were to be provided with more information.

Officials were asked why the tax was being proposed when city staff salaries have increased. Phillipe said the increase in salaries reflected in the budget is a result of insurance increases and the absorption of salary expenses that were previously allocated through the redevelopment agency before its dissolution.

The city of Clearlake has a maintained street system of 112 miles, consisting of 63 miles of paved streets and 49 miles of unpaved, gravel or dirt streets.

According to Galusha, the city has a deferred maintenance need of $17 million. The city is currently spending about $40,000 annually for repair and maintenance. He said with the current funding levels the city's street system will continue to deteriorate.

“The money we have in the gas tax isn’t' going to cut it. There needs to be consistent funding to make progress,” Galusha said. “Without some increased revenue you're not got going to have a road system.”

Galusha said it will take about five years to begin systematically rehabilitating the system while protecting the investments of recent road projects.

Arterial streets, such as Lakeshore Drive, Olympic Drive and Old Highway 53, will be of the highest priority, he said. Next will be collector streets and then residential roads.

According to the Yes on Measure H Committee, paved roads that have turned to dirt will be repaved over time.

Measure H funds are not to go toward public work salaries, officials said. Public works staffing is to continue to be funded through gas tax funds. The only funds earmarked for salaries are within the 25 percent designated for code enforcement.

A total of $230,000 is set aside for staffing of two code enforcement officers, one animal control officer and a portion of the animal services contract with SPCA.

Health and safety issues will be a priority for code enforcement. Other areas of service will include animal control, vehicle abatement, dilapidated structures, trash and debris.

“There is already a list generated by complaints but initially, once staff is in place, several things will occur: A strategy will be developed to survey the city to classify conditions and a plan laid out to systematically begin addressing the worst properties first. An educational brochure will be developed to encourage self compliance as well,” said Yes on Measure H Committee presenter Mike Vandiver.

Vandiver said the sales tax proposal is better than a property tax initiative because sales tax applies to everyone making taxable purchases, including those visiting the area. A property tax would apply only to property owners and also would require a vote.

Passage of the measure would designate the city as a “self-help” city, thereby improving its opportunities to receive grants when state and federal funding becomes available. Vandiver said the city could expect incremental payments within six months.

Among other questions answered during the meeting was how the funds were to be monitored.

The funds are to be subject of an annual independent audit and will be included in budget discussions, officials reported.

State law requires the city to prepare and adopt an expenditure plan describing specific projects for which the revenues from the tax may be used. There will be a five year plan implemented by public works, and it will be revised and changed as needed.

The Clearlake City Council will oversee the work to make sure the plan is adhered to, and officials said the city council can revise the plan as needed based on public and city needs.

The public can attend council meetings and budget workshops to provide input.

Email Denise Rockenstein at [email protected] .

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Comments (9)Add Comment
lakesider
...
written by a guest, October 08, 2013
No Jobs&no youth services are worse than the roads what about the kids
dano
75%
written by dano, October 08, 2013
Of the funds MUST be used for road improvement. The gas tax continues to fund project and is used to match funds to get more bang for our buck just as it has in the past. Guest, enlighten us on 3 more pressing issues than our roads, animal control & code enforcement, at least issues that the cc can put a dent in.
whitemagic
...
written by whitemagic, October 07, 2013
Fill their shoes for a Tuesday or maybe go to two committees they serve on and then talk. Pic your fights buddy. Know thee facts. You are a trouble maker just like the ones who helped shut the Gov down. Are you in denial?smilies/grin.gif
lakesider
Dano
written by a guest, October 07, 2013
If you think blight and the roads are the 2 most pressing issues facing clearlake today you might want to step back and look at the community and what its true needs are and maybe you might reevaluate its priorities!
LakeGuy1
Dano is wrong
written by LakeGuy1, October 07, 2013
Really? you think salaries will not rise? propaganda? whew, I have a bridge for sale..LOl. Originally we were presented with only 2 code enforcement officers, training and equipment. Now they want to add an animal control officer and SPCA funding. That is not what we were told at a presentation by a pro Prop H supporter. They say it right in the article "Public works staffing will still be funded through gas tax funds" Sounds like a lot, if not all public works staffing will be funded thru the present gas tax with nothing left for the streets as it was originally planned. Dano, look a little closer at the present budget and you will see what I mean.
Nscale
Wow!
written by Nscale, October 07, 2013
Guest, where did that rant come from? smilies/grin.gif
You really have no idea what any of these jobs Entail. These people spend way more hours doing their job then you obviously can understand.

To many people want to believe as guest maybe does, because they would rip off the citizens so they believe every one else does it. Or many such as guest want all the perks, but want to do none of the work, time and money that it takes to run a city or even a small city such as Clearlake.
Guest, the unknown poster, (who will not give name) I nominate you for a Tin Hat Award!

Ken Price
truth1318
i don't beg to differ
written by a guest, October 07, 2013
everything lake guy wrote is true those side streets have needed to redone for decades. and as far as phones and cars. thats not the only benefits they get. as with all gov. jobs you get paid weather you show up or not, b.o.s. is never at their chambers except for tuesdays, why are they not there earning their 60,000 dollar a year salaries? instead they're out shopping for their properties or just doing whatever they want on our dime. phones and cars are a drop in the hat compared to just the amount of hours wasted not doing their jobs. and i guarantee none of this money will go to roads it's all going to go to code enforcement so they can red tag homes just to turn around and resell them to make more money. these people really care about the citizens, so much so that they will remove elderly people on fixed income from their homes on b.s. code violations knowing the whole time the people will never be able to afford to make the so called improvements, then they swoop in and resell it just to pocket the money. am i the only one fed up with these people who are making crazy ammounts of money at our expence? time for a change
dano
I beg to differ
written by dano, October 07, 2013
2 of the 5 cc members are business owners. 1 ardently supported the measure in the general election and now doesn't. The other has always supported it. How would we decide who's residential road to pave first? My guess is yours. During busy times a residential road gets driven on a handful of times while the arterial roads get driven on HUNDREDS of times an hour because EVERYONE uses them. They ABSOLUTELY should be maintained first starting with that evil business owner the post office where the linear cracks could become unrepairable. I commend the cc for thinking of its citizens and doing exactly what they should. Putting a sensible measure on the ballot in the general election that barely missed passing a super majority and reintroducing it in a special election for Clearlake. The measure deals with the 2 most pressing issues facing Clearlake today, blight and poor road infrastructure, in a way that will benefit everyone, sharing the cost between residents and those who come to visit or vacation. This measure should be bringing us all together, not dividing. The rest of your post about salaries rising is the real propaganda, no more than personal speculation.
LakeGuy1
Again?
written by LakeGuy1, October 07, 2013
Arterial streets are the highest priority? WRONG! The residential paved streets that are in bad shape need to be taken care of. To hell with the arterial streets, that only benefit business owners, who make up the majority of the city council. They keep spewing propaganda that the arterial streets need to be maintained first. It is about time that the Clearlake City Council starts thinking of its citizens streets ahead of business roads. We had better watch closely as the salaries will probably rise if this tax passes due to less gas tax monies being used for roads. They just don't get it. Just look at the city managers perks: car & telephone allowance. Really? in addition to her $112,000.00 a year salary, which will go up if this measure passes.

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