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7 Options Floated For Healdsburg Tax Measure Feasibility Study

Healdsburg City Council to weigh various proposals at next meeting.

Seven consultants have responded to Healdsburg's toward a sales tax or a hotel room tax increase in a future ballot measure, city staff said Monday.

"The proposals range from $15,000 to $37,000," Assistant City Manager David Mickaelian told Healdsburg City Council, referring to those submitted by the Sept. 30 deadline.

"If you chose one under $25,000, then City Manager Marjie Pettus could approve it; if more than $25,000, then it would have to come before City Council for a vote."

Mayor Tom Chambers asked Mickaelian to put the matter on the next public meeting agenda to give time for council members to look at each option.

"I think there's a consensus that we should at least enter into a survey to see what the sentiment of the voters is to entertain any revenue measures," Chambers said.

Such a ballot measure would require two-thirds approval by city voters, Chambers said. He said the city has already pared staff and other expenses and undergone a rigorous budget tightening program.

"If voters are so inclined, I would want to fund infrastructure improvements," he said. "And I would want a sunset clause so the measure would have an end."

Earlier this month, and other infrastructure projects to gauge what the city's needs are for repairs and maintenance.

"I want to hear all the information before I make a decision one way or the other," Councilman Jim Wood said in regard to the survey. "I have not made up my mind yet."

Wood said one of the issues was that it was not clear if the city should look at a sales tax increase or at possibly reworking the transient occupancy tax -- also called hotel "room tax," he said.

"They're two different animals," Wood said.

Healdsburg's TOT rate -- mostly paid by tourists -- is currently at 12 percent, of which 10 percent goes to community services and 2 percent to the city's general fund. One option might be to ask voters' permission to send more to the general fund.

might be proposed to increase by a quarter or a half-cent.

"I want to be clear that we've not picked a consultant yet," said Vice Mayor Gary Plass. "There are a lot of different components to this."

Other variables are whether the survey would be done by telephone, mail or in person, or whether it would just include registered voters.

Katie October 18, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Healdsburg tax is 8%.....
Tom October 18, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Rather than spend money on "consultants" to survey the public on a tax increase why not use those funds to train the city council on how to properly manage city finances. In a down economy the passage of a tax increase is pretty slim. Had they had the training in this area they might have already figured this out and could save the consultant's fee. Why should the public give more money to a group that every time there is a hint of financial difficulty they run to the public for more funds. Kind of like asking your parents for more allowance.
austin October 19, 2011 at 03:41 AM
$15K-$37K for a study on how to get more money to spend, hilarious. Why can't people learn to live within their means?
Keri Brenner (Editor) October 19, 2011 at 03:56 AM
@Katie: Yes, thank you. I had 8 percent originally and then other media posted it as 9 percent last night. But I verified this a.m. with David Mickaelian that it is, in fact, 8 percent as Healdsburg Patch reported in July.

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