To what lengths is Ventura’s City Council willing to go?
To what lengths is Ventura’s City Council willing to go to convince voters to pass the ½¢ sales tax increase on November’s ballot?
They’ve already spent $118,000 on consultants to determine whether to put the initiative on the ballot. What did the consultants advise? The measure could pass provided the City “educated” the citizens of the “need.” After all, the consultants’ survey found only 22% of those polled thought there was a great need for more tax revenue and 36% thought there was some need.
There was a caveat in the consultants’ findings, however. They believed the initiative would pass provided there wasn’t any opposition to the measure.
So, to educate citizens, the City spends $22,000 on a 4-color brochure mailed to every registered voter. In the brochure, there are a variety of worthwhile needs listed. What the brochure doesn’t say, however, is that the new tax money will go into the General Fund and may or may not be used for any of those needs listed. It’s completely at the discretion of the City Council.
In 2006, the City spent $90,000 on consultants to advise them on a sales tax measure. That measure failed. So did a measure in 2009 at the height of the Great Recession when the City was running a $12 million deficit.
Today, the budget is balanced. Councilmember Christy Weir says the City has enough to meet its obligations.
Why, then, is the City spending $140,000 on consultants and 4-color brochures to pass something that has twice been defeated?
The bigger question you should ask yourself is whether the City Council is looking out for your best interests or looking to line the City coffers for their own purposes.