Vallejo City Council to consider one-cent sales tax


City officials estimate the tax, if approved by a majority of voters, would raise $9.9 million a year. It would take effect April 1, 2011. The current sales tax in Vallejo is 8.375 percent.

The City, which filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in May 2008, is projecting a $20.7 million, 2010-2011 general fund budget deficit if existing levels of services are maintained.

Sales tax revenues have decreased 18.5 percent, or $2.2 million over the past two years and property tax revenues are down, according to the City's Finance Department.

The City has reduced its General Fund workforce by 31 percent, eliminating 154 positions since 2004, according to the Finance Department. The General Fund Workforce is currently down to 340 positions.

City officials say sworn police officer positions have declined from 155 to 104 and without additional revenue, may be reduced to 92.

The one-cent tax could be used to restore ten sworn police officers, restore one fire engine company with emergency medical response capability, provide money for street repair, restore investor confidence in Vallejo, and repair roads, officials said.

If the City Council unanimously approves the emergency declaration and if a majority of the seven-member council then approves a resolution to place the general tax measure on the ballot, a first reading of the resolution would be held Tuesday.

A second reading or the ordinance and a vote to approve it would be on July 13. Voters would have their say on Nov. 2.

If the City Council does not unanimously approve the declaration of emergency today, two-thirds of the City Council could agree to put a "special tax" for a specific and restricted purpose on the ballot.

A special tax measure does not require a unanimous declaration of emergency and it requires two-thirds approval of the voters.

The City Council also is holding a public hearing on the proposed 2010-2011 budget this evening.

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