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Independent Voice

Another Round for Sales Tax?

Dec 19, 2023 11:59AM ● By Debra Dingman, photo by Debra Dingman

City meetings will be closed over the holidays.

DIXON, CA (MPG) - There may have been only three new items to discuss at the City Council Meeting last week but each of them wound up with lengthy discussions. The 1-cent sales tax increase is very likely to be coming this way again, possibly on the November ballot.

Item 12.3 was an informational report on the city’s previous efforts for a local, one cent sales tax for general city revenue purposes and discuss future options.

“Most of the tax would not be collected from residents of Dixon; It would come from the I-80 corridor,” explained City Manager Jim Lindley. He then turned the discussion over to Councilman Kevin Johnson who said with a laugh that he certainly didn’t want this to be known as the ‘Kevin Johnson Tax.’

“It’s always been about what is best for the city,” he said. “Our number one responsibility is to educate the public on this.” City Treasurer Jim Ward said that the wording had a lot to do with the failure of the tax.

“Measure D failed because the public didn’t know exactly what the tax would go for,” he said. “If we knew exactly what it would go for, I would have been for it.”

“We have limited ways of generating revenue for the wants and needs of our city,” Johnson responded. “More than 60-percent of sales tax is collected by people driving through that don’t live here. We could be specific about where the money would or could go for things like landscape and lighting, for example. We are terribly underfunded.”

City Attorney Doug White cautioned the Council saying, “We are not allowed to use any city resources [to promote a tax.] We don’t have the capability to campaign on our behalf. Be we can say it is likely going to go for [something like] infrastructure.”

Councilman Thom Bogue was not on board pointing out that other [Solano County] cities have the higher tax and are still going broke.

“We could have the tax paid by [outsiders,] but it affects 100-percent of the City’s residents,” he said. The Council did agree to have the City Attorney look into options of what kind of tax in relation to best position the City to get the tax passed and what it would take to get it on the November ballot.

In other news, the City Council received a Parks and Recreation Master Plan Update and were introduced to the City’s Park Impact fee Nexus Study, which included updated park impact fees charged on new development.

The LPA Managing Director John Courtney said there “should” be 120 acres so 22 more acres of park land are needed to have as much for residents as the town is built out, he explained, based on five acres per 1,000 residents. This was based on a projected population of 28,450.

“Dixon does match pretty closely with national benchmarking pretty well with other communities,” he said. Facility needs/improvements assessed from the community included (in order) Pickleball, fitness classes; exercise equipment; tennis; jogging/walking trails; indoor and outdoor basketball; volleyball; swimming; baseball; soccer; Rugby; and senior center.

Earlier in the consent calendar, it was approved for staff to be procuring steel panels in the indoor soccer arena.

The services that made the list of community desires were: a safe, small-town feel; more youth activities; maintaining existing facilities; enhancing cultural diversity; performing arts and technology programs.

Plans also included expanding existing parks and implementing upgrades such as lighting and converting some grass areas, such as areas under trees, for shrubs and different ground cover such as drought intolerant plants.

Blair Aas, Director of Planning Services for SCI Consulting Group offered funding options.

“Developmental Impact Fees are critical tools to maintain infrastructure,” he said. “AB1600 Mitigation Fee Act determines how to get them, charge for them, etc. Population should pay its own way.”

With item 12.2, the Council unanimously passed the resolution authorizing the City Manager to sign the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement for the Provision and Management of Emergency Ambulance Services. (JEPA) after Fire Chief Todd McNeal supported the change.

“There is significant potential to increase revenue,” he said. “There is an estimated $5 million that Medic Ambulance cannot receive because the current model is private.” Medic Ambulance is privately owned and therefore cannot use government grants. The Chief also said response time would improve because the operational control for standards increases the level of response.