A second consideration of putting an extension and increase of city’s 1 percent sales tax before voters again failed at a special noon meeting Friday of the Westminster City Council.
Facing a hard deadline of 5 p.m. to notify the Orange County Registrar of Voters, the council voted twice and did not overturn Monday’s rejection of the proposal.
A motion by Councilmember Chi Charlie Nguyen to place on the ballot a measure to extend Measure SS – originally adopted by voters in 2016 for six years – for 10 more years failed on a 2-2-1 vote.
Councilmembers Tai Do and Kimberly Ho voted no, and Mayor Tri Ta again abstained, as he did on Monday. Another motion by Ho to change the measure to 1.5 cents with a sunset of 20 years failed for the lack of a second.
Councilmember Sergio Contreras, hoping for a compromise, proposed asking voters to extend the 1 percent levy, but with no end date.
That motion also failed on a 3-1-1 vote, with Do voting no, and Ta again abstaining. A four-fifths vote is required.
The outcome came in the face of pleas Friday from citizens to be allowed to vote on the sales tax and predictions of dire financial consequences from city staff that without increased sales tax revenue layoffs and cuts in service were likely and that bankruptcy and possible disincorporation of the city were possible within 10 years.
Ta, who was criticized by some speakers for his abstentions, said he chose that option because “I believe we still have two years” before Measure SS expires in 2022.
Tri Ta and Tai Do should be ashamed of themselves. To not allow the voters of the city decide for themselves is truly arrogant.
Sales taxes is not a solution every time city doesn’t have enough money. High sales taxes will hurt the businesses in the city. City management and leaders need to go back and check how wisely they spent their hard earn taxe money.