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City Council to decide on new sales tax

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Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 5:04 pm

Half Moon Bay leaders will decide next week whether to bring a new sales tax increase before voters in November as a way to generate more money for local services.

The proposed measure would put a half-cent surcharge on local sales receipts, raising the city tax rate to 8.75 percent. That increase would provide $867,000 each year for Half Moon Bay, according to city estimates.

The new money is needed, city officials explain, because Half Moon Bay is drastically understaffed and lacking in resources after three years of sweeping cuts. Over that period, the city eliminated 75 percent of its employees and outsourced its police and recreation services.

City leaders say those cost-saving measures have been largely successful even though they continue to emphasize that more revenues must be found. Earlier this month, city officials passed the first budget in years that didn’t require layoffs or cuts. But they report the city will be $1 million short for its infrastructure projects planned for this fiscal year.

The proposed tax could last for three or five years, and it could be brought back to voters at a future date for renewal, according to the staff report.

The city's last attempt to pass a sales tax failed by about 200 votes. That 2010 tax proposal, Measure K, would have raised sales tax by one cent over seven years.

The City Council will consider the new tax at their regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

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