On Tuesday, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council will consider increasing its local sales tax to 10.25% — potentially placing the matter before voters in a November special election — a move that could generate an additional $2.5 million in revenue annually.
Council members will convene in a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 16 to review the city’s midyear budget and consider appropriating $30,000 for consultant FM3 to create a community survey to gauge public interest in the measure.
The current sales tax rate on retail goods sold in La Cañada maintains a countywide standard of 9.5%, of which 1% is returned to the city. According to a statewide mandate, municipalities can charge no more than 10.25%.
Two anticipated sales tax measures — one from the County of Los Angeles that could come up for a vote in November 2020 and another from the Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) — could force the city of La Cañada Flintridge to its 10.25% cap, unless the city preempts those measures by passing its own local sales tax initiative.
The nearby cities of Glendale, Burbank and Pasadena recently passed similar increases in an attempt to keep their sales tax dollars local.
A La Cañada sales tax increase placed on the November special election ballot would require adoption of an ordinance by two-thirds of the City Council as well as passage by two-thirds of voters. The use of such funds is restricted and would have to be specified to voters in the measure.
An ad hoc committee comprised of council members Terry Walker and Mike Davitt, City Manager Mark Alexander, City Treasurer Jeff Wang and Finance Director Rebekka Hosken determined the extra funds generated by a boost in the local sales tax might be best allocated toward public-safety enhancements and street repairs.
A survey will help residents provide input on whether to move forward with the measure, with the understanding an increase might be inevitable, should the county initiatives pass.