By Susan Motander
On Tuesday, June 4, the Monrovia City Council voted to hold a special election on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 to raise the local tax rate to 10.25%. If enacted the measure, Keep Monrovia Revenue Local Sales and Use Tax Proposal, would raise the local tax rate by 0.75%, the highest amount allowed by law. This would ensure that other entities could not propose tax measures that would not guarantee keeping local sales tax revenues for local use.
According to the staff report, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the County are already looking at proposals to increase the sales tax rates to raise money for these larger entities. Of the nine tax increase ballot measures in the last decade only two have failed. Both of these were rebadged and resubmitted to the voters and passed. Measure J: Sales Tax for transportation failed in 2012 but passed as an extension of Measure R (the prior sales tax for transportation measure) in 2016. Measure P: Parks and Recreation failed in 2014 but passed as Measure A: Parks and Open Spaces in 2016.
With the track record, staff urged the council to keep local monies in the community. Coupled with concerns over several future fiscal threats locally the council was urged to keep these funds. The concerns about calls for additional city funds include the growth of unfunded accrued liability due to underperformance of the state-run municipal pension program, the pace of inflation, the inability to fully fund reserve fund levels and costs of such programs as the Landscape & Lighting District, and Park Maintenance District (the city subsidizes these).
The exact wording of the measure is:
“To keep local sales tax dollars in Monrovia to fund general city services, including community center improvements, police, fire, 911, senior services, parks, recreation, clean water and others, shall the Monrovia Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance of 2019, placed on the ballot by the City Council, be approved, imposing a 0.75% transactions and use (sales) tax to collect approximately $4.5 million annually spent only in Monrovia, with a Citizens Advisory Committee and annual spending plan?”