Sales tax, Quang Tri on agenda

THE WESTMINSTER City Council will tackle a proposed sales tax extension and the location of the Quang Tri monument (Shutterstock).

By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune

What’s likely to be a contentious – and lengthy – meeting of the Westminster City Council meeting is set for Wednesday.

The council will be tackling two of the most controversial issues facing the city. The matter of extending Measure SS – the city’s one-cent sales tax levy, approved by voters in 2016 – is the top item.

According to the agenda, the proposal before the council is to place before voters on the Nov. 8 general election ballot a proposal to extend the current tax until ended by voters at either a 1 or 1.25 percent rate.

Measure SS expires at the end of this year, and without renewal the city treasury would plunge into red ink and eventually run the risk of bankruptcy, according to city economic projections.

Cutbacks in city staff – including police – would follow a lapse in the tax, and programs such as parks and recreation would suffer severe budget reductions.

Even if voters give their approval, the tax renewal (or increase) would not kick in until April, meaning the city would forego millions in revenue.

Previous efforts to approve placing the matter on the ballot have failed to draw the support of a majority.

Continued twice from earlier meetings was the issue of where to locate the proposed Quang Tri monument, observing and memorializing the 1972 victory of South Vietnamese and American forces over Communist troops in a pivotal battle.

Additionally, there’s an agenda item about consideration of “reinstating the Quang Tri Victory Foundation’s authority” to locate the monument in Sid Goldstein Freedom Park, adjacent to the Civic Center.

Where to locate the monument – including whether Freedom Park was an available location – has been divisive and the council has been unable to reach a consensus or make a decision.

The city council will meet in person at 8200 Westminster Blvd., with a closed season at 5 p.m. and the open session at 7 p.m.

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