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Election 2016: Fountain Valley voters to decide on proposed 1% tax increase

After a decade of financial trouble, on Nov.8 Fountain Valley voters will decide to support or deny a proposed 1% sales tax increase to boost city coffers.

After months of research by city Finance Director David Cain, many city officials have backed the measure, determining that the tax increase was determined to be the most feasible solution to the city’s increasing deficit. The proposal comes after years of cuts at City Hall, particularly due to so-called “state takeaways,” as other costs simultaneously increase.

In 2002, the city decreased the number of its workforce from 257 to 221. City employees have also been required to contribute to their retirement funds.

Passing the city’s latest 2016-17 budget, which included significant cuts, required city officials to take $1.7million from the city’s general fund reserve to balance.

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Advocates of Measure HH include Mayor Cheryl Brothers, Councilman Steve Nagel and businessman Matt Taylor, chairman of the Yes on HH Group. They say significant cuts have already been done and the city now needs to look for ways to create money.

Others, including council candidates Patrick Tucker and Kim Constantine, are calling the measure “excessive” and urge the city to stop its “wasteful spending.”

Measure HH

Title: City of Fountain Valley, Fountain Valley 911 Response Police - Fire/Essential City Services Measure

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The measure would institute a new 1% sales tax, effective April1, 2017, for 20 years that’s estimated to provide an extra $11.5million annually. The money will be used to maintain public safety, after-school programs, senior services, pension obligations, stormwater systems and other general city services. A citizens advisory committee would be established to review expenditures from the measure’s tax proceeds and provide semi-annual reports to the public and City Council.

Ballot argument for: Advocates say the revenue boost is needed because Sacramento has taken about $100million of Fountain Valley’s money over the years, leading to reductions in city services. Fountain Valley public safety personnel — namely firefighters and police officers — need proper funding to keep fire stations open, increase neighborhood patrols and quickly respond to emergencies.

[Argument written by Fountain Valley residents Jynene Johnson, Ed Sussman, Susan Saurastri, Ed Arnold, Vince Bui.]

Ballot argument against: Critics say the tax increase is excessive, and that City Hall should stop its so-called wasteful spending. Orange County sales tax is already at 8%. Adding another percentage would make it a “gigantic” 9%. Those who stand to lose from the high tax burden are businesses, residents, those on a fixed income and big-ticket manufacturers.

[Argument written by David Pruyne, Rochelle Giuseffi, Gloria Pruyne, Raymond Silva.]


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