The Delta City Council is backing off a 0.5 percent sales tax increase to be dedicated to public safety, but continues to weigh whether to ask voters for a tax increase for parks, recreation and golf. The city council is also trying to determine the best time to pose questions about the cultivation and retail sale of marijuana. All ballot questions were expected to be finalized at the council's Sept. 4 meeting.
The council previously discussed a percent sales tax increase to be divided between public safety and parks. Then word came from county officials that they would like to sit down with all municipalities and discuss public safety needs countywide. According to city staff, the county is concerned a city sales tax question could undermine that effort.
When asked for input, DPD Chief Luke Fedler said his department could certainly use financial support, because his department is busier than ever. But the sales tax question came up so quickly, he said he doesn't feel he's had time to come up with a solid game plan for the additional revenue. Without facts in hand, he believes it would be difficult to get voters to support a ballot measure in November.
The parks department, however, has already been gathering input from citizens and is ready to proceed. Wilma Erven, department director, added that those citizens don't believe the sales tax increase should sunset in 10 years, as outlined in an early draft of the ballot question.
Currently, one cent of the city's three-cent sales tax goes to parks, recreation and golf. "We can not continue to support parks and recreation on one penny," she told council.
The marijuana questions also continue to be debated, sometimes with heated exchanges between council members and members of the public attending the council sessions.