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By Jeannie Bruins–
I support Measure M for all the reasons that have been stated. Some people have stated that the additional penny on the dollar would be repressive. I wanted to find out for myself what the extra 1% added to the sales tax would cost me.
I itemize all of my income and expenses in QuickBooks as they occur, so it was easy to run a profit-and-loss report to see what I spent for the 8 months between 1/1/2020 and 8/31/2020.
I separated my taxable expenditures from nontaxable, like grocery food, prescriptions, mortgage, utilities, etc. I included my business expenses and my personal expenses and compared the two tax rates.
Had the sales tax been 8.75% instead of 7.75% during those months, the actual cost to me would have been $7.23/month. This isn’t a projection or educated guess, but an actual amount, based upon actual spending. It’s less than one trip through your favorite drive-thru restaurant or coffee house.
This is not repressive and won’t even be noticed by most people.
The city has experienced declining sales tax, which is our major source of revenue, for the last few years, due to online sales and the decline of Sunrise Mall.
We have always been a city that has been frugal in our spending and we continue to tighten our belt. And then COVID-19 hit.
The city has saved $1 million in expenditures over the last year. We have retooled how we do business and we have had a hiring freeze that has left positions unfilled, including 17 positions in the police department.
We have had to use our line of credit to take advantage of opportunities, like purchasing the Sylvan Corner property from San Juan Unified School District, so we could put together the vision for that property and sell it to a developer who will bring that vision to fruition. Once that property is sold in the next few months, the revenue will be used to pay back the debt we borrowed from the line of credit. We continue to watch our finances very carefully.
We all know that many of our roads need immediate attention. There are still roads in our city that were created during our county governance days that were not maintained prior to cityhood. We have done as much work as we can with the revenue we have, but we continue to fall behind because the longer maintenance is deferred, the more expensive it becomes.
These are just two of the needs that Measure M revenue will provide funds to address.
Our two surveys answered by 2,000 residents over the past year, (including during the first months of COVID), told us they want to keep law enforcement strong and response times short, and grow our homeless response and prevention program, while moving our economy forward. To do that we must:
- Fill open staff positions, including 17 open positions in the police department.
- Tackle improving and repairing our roads, most of which were in bad shape already when we incorporated in 1997.
- Expand our navigator program to address homelessness and build on the successes we already have.
- Move our economy forward by attracting new business, good employers and realize the vision we have for the Sunrise Mall property.
Revenue from Measure M will provide funds to address all of these needs. The oversight committee and outside 3rd party audits will assure that the money will be spent where it is has been promised.
$7.23 – less than the cost of most drive thru meals. It’s a small ask that will pay big dividends in improved services to Citrus Heights citizens. Please vote yes on Measure M.
Jeannie Bruins is a Citrus Heights council member, where she has been serving since first being elected in 2002. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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