Bellflower places proposed sales tax increase on ballot

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By Arnold Adler

Contributing Writer

BELLFLOWER — Local voters will be asked to approve a three-quarters-cent sales tax increase on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The City Council unanimously voted to place the measure on the ballot at a special meeting July 30, City Clerk Mayra Ochiqui said.

To take effect, the measure would require a simple majority of voters to approve it.

It would increase the city sales tax from the current 9.5 percent to 10.25 percent, the highest allowed by state law.

If approved, the tax would raise an estimated $4.5 million a year for municipal services, City Manager Jeffrey L. Stewart said in a report to the council.

Council members also set rules for public comment on the issue..

The sales tax was recommended by a council-appointed Revenue Ad-hoc Study Commission named in early 2019 to review various ways to increase funds to maintain city operations.

Other proposals included a transient hotel/motel tax and an increase in business taxes.

Also approved was a resolution directing the city attorney to prepare an impartial analysis of the proposition.

In addition to the presidential election Nov. 3, local voters also will elect City council members in District 1, currently represented by Dan Koops; District 2, represented by Ray Hamada; and District 4, which is open.

Koops and Hamada have indicated they would seek re-election.

The ad hoc committee was appointed to revue city funding in light of the loss of $1.4 million a year from a voter-approved 2 percent utility tax hike in 2013. The tax expired in 2018.

The funds were utilized to maintain emergency response priorities, develop a viable economic development program in Bellflower and maintain high quality youth services, Stewart said.

City expenses were compounded by the court-ordered construction and maintenance of a 70-bed temporary shelter for the homeless, which opened in June at 8833 Cedar St.

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