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Something the good people of Sierra Madre have already refused to do in 2012 and 2014. This despite the blandishments, bull, baloney, bromides and out and out begging of the previous several City Councils. Yes, indeed. My personal take here is that this decision could be an extremely close thing.
Mayor Pro Tem Gene "Forrest" Goss has already stated that he wants to take another swing at raising the UUT rate. No matter what you might have said at those input meetings. His mind is apparently set and will not be changed by anything that you may have had to offer. Then again, for the likes of Gene Goss there are no problems that a tax increase cannot solve. Think of it as winning the lottery. It is wonderful fun and requires absolutely no brainwork or effort.
John Harabedian has stated that he is in favor of a lot of the proposed reductions, but believes that a UUT increase is also in order. Being a bit more of a thinker than Gene, former Mayor Harabedian has apparently decided that should these cuts go through, the people of Sierra Madre would be so horrified by the results that they will literally climb over mighty mountains to vote themselves a tax hike next April. In the process helping to pay off John's debt to the cop union.
Rachelle Arizmendi and Denise Delmar are the most likely to have listened to what those attending the community input meetings had to say over the last few weeks, and will gamely attempt to tailor their efforts to reflect those opinions. Something that will not be easy because while most people do not want to increase their taxes, there isn't much they would care to see go away, either. Unlike with the General Plan outreach meetings, a hoped for clarity was not delivered this time.
Assuming that Councilmembers Arizmendi and Delmar sense that the voters do not particularly want the City Council to second guess their previous two verdicts and override them on utility tax increases (which is where I believe they will come down), that leaves Mayor John Capoccia in sole possession of a swing vote.
As you will perhaps recall, John Capoccia ran for his City Council seat as a fiscal conservative, and therefore opposed a proposed utility tax increase in 2012. Something that then Mayor Buchanan, along with Councilmember bobble heads Moran, Walsh and Mosca, had attempted to push all the way up to 12%. A rate so high that it had never even been attempted in California before. Or since then, for that matter. You'd have to be nuts to even try it.
However, in 2014 John Capoccia reversed himself and strongly supported a 10% utility tax hike. Also amongst the very highest rates statewide. Despite his demonstrative support it also went down to an ignominious defeat.
Capoccia has since supported every rate and fee hike put before him as well. And unless the 2012 tax fighter manqué John Capoccia has somehow escaped from the General Fund purgatory he has spent the last few years wandering in, the Mayor will come down close to the same position as John "Fire Them & Rehire Them" Harabedian.
That is how I see things going down. I hope I'm wrong and Sierra Madre's elected officials will instead do the right thing and honor the thousands of resident anti-tax increase votes cast in 2012 and 2014. Rather than trying to decipher the eclectic opinions of those two hundred or so people who showed up at the community input meetings.
But I doubt that will happen, and next April the good citizens of Sierra Madre will be forced to revote on something they voted against twice before.
And at considerable taxpayer expense, I might add.
But Mod! What does the Agenda Report say?
Funny you should ask. Here it is (link):
If I were you, I'd pay especially close attention to that "alternative" at the end. My guess is it's an option that at least two City Councilmembers already fully support, and will push hard to make happen.
On May 25 I posted an article here called "Why Is The Sierra Madre Police Department Offering To Make The Least Amount Of Budget Cuts?" I thought it asked some of the questions that needed to be asked.
Rather than my reposting all of that today, you can link to it here.