The Culver City Chamber of Commerce issued a statement saying it will officiall support Measure Y- the half-cent sales tax increase, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The measure will increase the local sales tax by ½ a cent until 2023. following the abolition of the Redevelopment Agency and several town hall meetings laying out the City’s financial status and its need to bring more funds into the City’s coffers.
In an official press release the Chamber of Commerce said while it supports the measure, Chamber Chairman Goran Eriksson still wants the City Council and staff to find ways to continue cutting expenses and raising revenues through other means.
“It is not often that a business organization goes on the record in favor of new taxes, especially one that will clearly have some impacts on our local retailers, but we recognize the difficult situation our city faces,” he said. “While we will encourage Culver City voters to support the measure, we also demand that the City take a hard look at other ways to close the budget gap.”
Chamber President Steve Rose concurred, stating, “The structural budget needs to be addressed sooner than later and much of it needs to be done through appropriate user fees to remove the tax burden from the general public and the business community. The Chamber has spent a lot of time focusing on ways to make sure that user fees are the preferred tools for helping us dig out of this economic hole. It’s simply not fair to ask business alone to shoulder that burden.”
Among the proposed user fees supported by the Chamber are:
- Rental fees for City buildings and facilities – A review and implementation of appropriate fees, including a capital reserve fund, needs to be charged for all City property. Over the past 40 years, the Redevelopment Agency funded most, if not all, capital improvements to City facilities. While there might be consideration of reductions in fees for some youth programs, it is important that users of these facilities pay “the going rate” and are no longer subsidized by the City.
- Parking Meters – The Chamber supports placement of parking meters in all retail business areas in Culver City. Not only would parking meters create a “churn” in parking, allowing new customers to park near businesses on busy retail streets as other shoppers leave, but those meters can be an important revenue source for the city. In the past, the placement of parking meters was determined on a block-by-block basis, but that methodology needs to be changed to one that looks are larger areas.
- Parking Fees in City Lots – The Chamber supports the elimination of free parking in all city parking lots.
- City Fees – The Chamber believes the City should undertake a thorough review of all city fees and develop a fair fee-for-service formula.
Rose said the Chamber hopes to work cooperatively and proactively with the City to address the budget situation.
“It is critical for the City to develop new revenue streams because we simply cannot rely on state and federal funding because our pocket has been picked too many times,” Rose said. “We will be watching City Council very closely to assure that our elected officials do everything within their power to implement creative change. If the revenue generated from this new sales tax increase is not spent wisely, the Chamber will be the first to hold the decision makers responsible.”