|Cotati to push for sales tax extension
Measure A credited with allowing city to maintain viable police department
All signs are pointing to the City of Cotati pushing for an extension of sales tax Measure A, which is scheduled to end in 2015.
The extension, which would have to be approved by voters, likely will be on the ballot in June. Measure A has been credited with providing enough revenue for Cotati to maintain its police department as well as helping the city get out of red ink.
During the last council meeting, results of a survey about extending the tax measure were revealed. According to the survey, conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, 66 of those surveyed said they want “to maintain the City of Cotati as a viable, independent city and a clear majority recognize the city’s need for additional funding to keep Cotati that way” and would be willing to temporarily support increasing the city’s sales tax.
“Cotati residents recognize that the city’s loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars to Sacramento has created a need for a reliable source of local funding that can’t be seized by the state,” City Manager Dianne Thompson said. “Over the last few years the city has reduced staffing by 28 percent and reduced its overall general fund budget by 11 percent. We must continue our efforts locally to prevent more severe and potentially permanent service cuts in the future.”
A majority of respondents to the survey said they feel Cotati’s finances are well managed and are aware of the steps the city has taken to address devastating budget cuts. More than 80 percent of survey respondents rated the work being done by the Cotati Police Department favorably, with 72 percent of respondents believing it is important for Cotati to maintain its own, locally controlled police force.
“To prevent the need to contract with the county for police services and maintain our current law enforcement staffing it is critical that Cotati have a local revenue source that cannot be taken by Sacramento or Washington,” said Cotati Police Chief Michael Parish. “Our residents want to ensure local funds are available so that we can effectively do our jobs to prevent and investigate property crime and keep the Cotati community safe.”
The telephone survey, conducted from Nov. 7-26, sampled 273 randomly selected Cotati voters and had a margin of error of plus-minus 5.9 percent.
It also asked a number of questions, including whether Cotati was on the right track and the level of concern about the quality of the city’s services.