Measure K Committee discusses raising sales tax measure

GONZALES — The Measure K Oversight Committee has recommended that the City Council of Gonzales place a one-half percent transaction and use tax on the November 2018 general election ballot at its Jan. 25 meeting.

If the ballot measure is passed, it would raise the City’s transaction and use tax to a full 1 percent.

Measure K was brought forward after the council gave the city manager direction to bring back an increase in the local sales tax for discussion. The ballot Measure K was approved by 65 percent of registered voters.

“The tax that was collected is a general purpose tax and goes into the general fund,” said Thomas Truszkowski, deputy city manager and community development director. “Over the last several years, Measure K has provided the city with a lot of flexibility in resources and the ability to use the money, $1.3 million, in the last three years.”

Measure K has funded several projects, including financing for the community pool, improvements to the City Council Chambers, funds for youth services programs, and some money for the summer day camp program. Funding from Measure K also goes toward the Community Grant Program.

The reason Truszkowski said Measure K is still needed in Gonzales is that it continues to fund community needs that directly impact quality of life envisioned in the City’s vision statement.

“We’re not using this money to fund salaries or other items in the general fund but are used to fund improvements in our town adding to the quality of life,” Truszkowski said.

Currently, the Gonzales tax rate is 8.25 percent, which is lower than Salinas’ tax rate of 9.25 percent. Soledad is at 8.75 percent and Greenfield is at 9.5 percent. The majority of the revenue from the sales tax comes from Internet sales, car sales and appliance sales.

“There’s absolutely no question that the original tax benefitted the community, but I just don’t know how people will feel about it,” said Lorraine Worthy, vice chairperson.

Committee Member Anna Mae Gazo said the original tax measure was primarily to fund the pool and if residents come up to her asking about the measure, she would want to know what it was going to do.

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