Watered-down Sales Tax Measure OK’d for Redding Ballot; Money Would Support Law Enforcement

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Redding voters will get to vote on a proposed sales tax hike for citywide anti-crime measures, but it’s exactly half of what Mayor Rick Bosetti had in mind.

Even though the final vote at Monday’s special meeting was 5-0, the Redding City Council was deeply divided over Bosetti’s proposed half-cent sales tax. A 4/5ths majority vote was required to place the measure on the ballot and for much of the two-hour meeting, it appeared the measure would fail on the usual 3-2 split with Councilors Patrick Jones and Gary Cadd accounting for the dissent.

Instead, an amended motion from Cadd that called for putting a quarter-cent increase before voters ended up receiving unanimous support, including a “yes” vote from Jones, who earlier had stated his fundamental opposition to any new taxes.

Registered voters within Redding city limits will be asked Nov. 4 whether to adopt a quarter-cent “transactions and use tax,” with the proceeds—estimated to be $5 million a year—used to hire additional police officers, fund supervised community cleanup programs and pay for out-of-county incarceration of sentenced offenders.

Bosetti proposed the half-cent measure at a council meeting in July. On Monday, he said the tax would help Redding get a handle on growing crime issue that has been exacerbated by the Public Safety Realignment Act (AB 109). The state legislation was enacted in 2011 to reduce California’s prison population by diverting certain non-violent offenders to county jails and shifting their post-release supervision to county probation officers instead of parole agents.

The tax measure, which will expire in six years, will feed a trust fund that will cover eligible expenses like hiring more police officers, renting jail cells in other cities and buying ankle bracelets for house arrests. Expenditures would be under the council’s control, City Attorney Rick Duvernay said.

Speakers were roughly divided on the measure, with some opposed to even the idea of a tax, others adamant that the council can find money elsewhere and a few acknowledging that it wouldn’t hurt to let the electorate decide.

“We failed to manage the general fund, and we shouldn’t ask you for more money,” said Jones, who reiterated his support for an unarmed citizen patrol (a topic on the agenda for the regular Tuesday council meeting).

Cadd, who was expected to be the swing vote, raised some eyebrows when he said he favored putting the measure on the ballot—“the voters have the right to have their say”—but then he countered with a long, meandering alternative motion that included the reduction to a quarter-cent tax.

Councilwoman Francie Sullivan admitted the measure was far from perfect but expressed her support, saying “anything we do to help law enforcement is a good thing. The people in our community deserve a chance to decide if they want to help the police.”

A vote on the half-cent sales tax failed on the usual 3-2 split.

Councilwoman Missy McArthur then offered grudging support of the quarter-cent version.

“I want to get any money we can to police,” she said.

With a voice hoarse from battling a chest cold, Bosetti made a final pitch for unity on the council.

“I absolutely believe it has to be a 5-0 vote. You can’t ignore what happened at Wednesday’s meeting,” he said, referring to Police Chief Robert Paoletti’s well-attended town hall meeting.

“I’m tired of waiting on help from Sacramento.”

The sales tax measure will require a two-thirds majority of votes for approval. After the meeting, Cadd said he was doubtful it would meet that 66 percent threshold.

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.
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7 Responses

  1. Avatar david kerr says:

    You can handle the truth! You can look up government employee compensation and benefits (actually paid, not the pay scales before overtime and bonuses for degrees, speaking Spanish, etc) in the Record Searchlight Database, the Sac Bee database or the State Controller’s database. The same forces that made the RPD so top heavy are still in place. Having too many captains, lieutenants, sergeants, etc and paying them so much more than patrolmen guarantees massive unfunded pension liability. Redding needs to reduce the number of positions at the top of the pay scale and reduce their pay, so that it can afford to add patrolmen.

    By restructuring the force, Redding could add 5-10 patrolmen and, as an important benefit, make Redding a better place to retire or invest. Corporate decision makers are well aware of the numbers and unfunded pension liability of Redding, Chico, Stockton, Yuba, Eureka, etc.

  2. Avatar Michelle says:

    And if the tax does not pass there will likely be a “fee.” I’d sooner pay a tax because then everybody, equitably and fairly pays a,”little.” Seems like when fees come into play, like the fire tax, a segment of the population just pays more. Look at hunting licenses, fishing licenses, tire purchases, building construction, etc…fees, fees, fees! Bottom line, we will pay…. one way or another.

  3. Avatar Brian D says:

    I’m no fan of any tax, but in this case I think it may be warranted.

    It’s no secret that Redding has been spending money in all the wrong places.

    But we have a serious, and immediate problem. Crime here is awful. Good people are leaving Redding because of it (it’s crossed my mind). In some cases people are getting hurt, or even killed.

    In this case I think a half-cent or quarter-cent tax to beef up the police force is a “no-brainer”. It’s not going to break the bank for folks (on $100 that comes to what, 25-50 cents?). Without a safe environment to foster it, Redding will not be prosperous. No way, no how.

    I’m for a city sales tax, AS LONG AS:

    1) The expenditures and accounting for the fund are made public and reviewable.
    2) Expenditures ONLY GO toward law enforcement efforts that directly combat our crime issues.
    3) It is temporary, and not modifiable (sounds like it is, no changing it to something higher later)

    After we get the crime situation under control let’s THEN discuss WHY we had to do this at all. We’re looking at you, City Council.

    Maybe we should make them play Sim City. They might learn a thing about spending money incorrectly.

    • Avatar Dr. John Swaim says:

      Yes, many are leaving Shasta Co. Several of our friends in the local medical community have left due to high crime. We are losing our physicians. Perhaps that doesn’t matter to some of you, however it will when you are in need of medical help. Wake up people!
      Dr. John Swaim

  4. Avatar Sam Allen says:

    Senator Gaines sounds hopeful to move forward with the bill to fund Shasta County to help put these low risk criminals on our streets in other prisons but don’t get too excited. It will take other district senators to support this bill. What’s in it for them? This may be to political to pass. Don’t stop your support yet. It may be crucial for us now to write to Gov Brown and tell him what we need! If Brown received two thousand emails or letters from the citizens of Shasta County , he may listen and support us on this bill. Please…DON’T STOP! We still need the voice of our people to push this through. We only have 28 days to do this.

    • Avatar John Swaim says:

      Sam, I agree! If everyone that has been victimized writes Sac, there will more than 2,000 letters. How about those of you that haven’t been a victim? Perhaps your letters could save you and your family from being a future victim! Come Shasta County, there is more of us than them so lets show Sac we will no longer tolerate this!

  5. Avatar John Swaim says:

    We have been sending daily emails with media URL links detailing local crime to Gov. Brown, Senator Gaines, and Attorney Gen. Harris. Finally we have Sen. Gaines attention! Please everyone must do this as we need to inform them during this month’s session! If we don’t crime will escalate as currently the criminals think there is no gatekeeper and we have given up. Please pass this along to your family, friends, and neighbors. Together we can make a difference. Save Shasta County!