By Roger Gitlin – August 26, 2020
It is disheartening if not pathetic that our Board of Supervisors’ only solution to address our budget is to raise our taxes, in this case the General Sales tax.
CURRENT: At present, the Del Norte County sales tax, including the City of Crescent City is 7.50%. You may remember, the Board,(including me) voted 1/4 cent tax increase to Save the Fair. I supported the seven year tax (expires in April 2022), lest our abandoned Fairgrounds would revert to unacceptable and the most expansive homeless camp in northern California. The tax sunsets in about two years where our sales tax hopefully will be 7.25%.
PROPOSED: For purposes of this post, I will address ONLY the County request to raise the sales tax to 8.5% . The City has a much different financial dynamic and I will address the City of Crescent City’s request to raise its sales tax 1%, in a later post.
It is expected,if passed, the income generated with be approximately $1.2 million.
I oppose the sales tax increase for a number of reasons:
* Estimates as much as 1 out of every two of us fill up our gas tanks in Brookings, especially at Fred Meyer. The difference is as much as a $1 per gallon. Many of us already travel 26 miles north to buy groceries, appliances, and put lots of income to the benefit of Curry County. Matters will worsen for Del Norte and continue to improve for Curry if the sales tax is increased. So many of our local businesses are suffering. I cannot support the raising of our sales tax. Frankly, the Board should request from Sacramento, that this County should be exempt from sales tax because of our proximity to sales tax-free Oregon.
* Del Norte County pays itself back $96,000 per year from our General Fund for the next 37 years to replenish the Stimson Economic Fund of $5 million, as part of the down payment on the the airport terminal. Though I totally support the new terminal, I ask why is the County paying itself back these funds? And, what will $5 million buying power purchase in the year 2057? Forgive the loan. There are no negative effects on the County credit score by forgiving the loan.
* Del Norte County is a poor county. Placing a burden on an already beleaguered citizenry is grossly unfair.
* Del Norte County squanders precious funds on the Sister City agreement with Rikuzentakata, Japan. All funding should be devoted to YOU, the tax payer. And no further funds should be dedicated to flying public officials to Japan in some sort of goodwill gesture. We cannot afford this luxury.
* Upper level Administration are compensated with unrealistically high salaries. My colleagues on this Board had the gall to raise their salaries in the near future. That item passed on our Board (4-1). I dissented. Without devolving to criticizing fellow supervisors, I am amused by comments like, ” We have no choice, we must have this tax.” Don’t listen to Gitlin .” and other juvenile antics which I am embarrassed to observe by those whom we elect. One has to ask oneself, who are we electing to represent us? . Forget one’s political party. It is shameful how these politicians cry dire straits, and then spend like drunken sailors… and think you, the voter, will not hold them accountable.
During these challenging times, we ALL have to make sacrifices including those who work for YOU, our local government and especially your Board of Supervisors.
County residents: When you receive your ballots in the mail, I urge you to vote NO on Measure R.
Roger Gitlin is District 1 Supervisor on the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors and the only one to vote NO on the sales tax.