City Council endorses proposed sales tax increase, up to voters now

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The Seal Beach City Council this week voted unanimously to pass a resolution supporting Measure BB, which would increase the sales tax locally by 1 cent. In July, the council voted unanimously to put the measure on the November ballot.

Only one resident spoke in opposition to the sales tax measure Monday, Sept. 24, Joyce Parque, a frequent council critic. “Close down the jail if you want more money,” she said. Parque has long criticized the operation of the city’s jail, which derives some revenue by renting space to “pay to stay” inmates to offset operating costs.

Three residents and all five council members spoke in support of the resolution, which was proposed by District One Councilwoman Ellery Deaton, who terms out of office at the end of this year.

One of those residents was Robert Goldberg, a self-appointed budget watcher, who held up a sign bearing his email address for the cable TV/webcast so he can have an opportunity to pursuade doubters to support the measure. He argued that if the measure does not pass, the city’s deficit could grow and the city’s $13 million in reseerves could decrease to $4.9 million.

Goldberg suggested a change to a paragrpah in the resolution that said revenues were flat. Goldberg argued that Seal Beach revenues had not kept up with inflation.

Deaton said the council wanted to ensure residents that the council had heard the public and that the money from the sales tax increase would not go down and black hole.

After the meeting, City Attorney Craig Steele said the resolution was a statement of intent. He explained that the council would still have to go through the mormal budgeting process.

The resolution said in part that “residents want to improve public safety, add police officers, maintain 911 emergency response times, prevent cuts to paramedic services, local police and fire protection, maintain school safety patrols, keep beaches safe and clean and protect the vital City services and quality of life that residents have come to expect.”

That night, the council also:

• Unanimously approved pier and parking agreements with Socal Holding LLC and DCOR LLC.

DCOR leases the landing on the Seal Beach Pier, which DCOR uses to transport employees to and from offshore oil platforms. As part of the DCOR agreement, the city will provide electricity for the landing effective Oct. 1.

Finance Director/Treasurer Victoria Beatley said DCOR has paid for electricity and repairs to the landing since the pier fire.

Earlier this year, DCOR filed a claim against the city for money spent on the landing as a result of the fire. Steele told the Sun that the city is still discussing the DCOR claim. • Rejected all recent bids for the city’s annual tree mantenance.

Recreation Manager Tim Kelsey said the bids came in considerably higher than the city had budgeted for the tree services. For now, only essential trimming will take place. “We’re trimmining for safety and to make sure the public right of way is clear,” he said.

According to Kelsey, staff expects the new tree trimming contract to be awarded in November.

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