By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
Hard questions with tough answers were the theme of Tuesday’s city council meeting for Stanton. A potential property tax or property assessment and concerns about the cost of police services and fire services as well spearheaded much of the agenda discussion.
Faced with the possibility that as of Monday, city redevelopment agencies in California may potentially be a thing of the past, the city had to ask itself: Where will our money come from and where does it all go to?
This was the main consideration when reviewing what would be the plan for outlining the city’s budget until 2013.
Stanton is facing a growing gap between revenues and expenditures and if the city revenue money is no longer available to them, then one solution that staff came up with is a potential property or property assessment tax.
The tax would have to be put to a public vote and City Manager Carol Jacobs said that the city would have to move fast to get it on the ballot for this coming June. Notice would have to be put in to the County Clerk by April 1 in order to make the cut for the ballot listing.
Although the city council agreed that it would be difficult, it may be one of the only viable options available to Stanton to maintain enough money to provide the necessary services to the city itself, such as fire and police services and maintenance.
This kind of a plan would not be a quick fix, Jacobs assured the council, it would be a move that would be in place for all of the foreseeable future.
The council gave Jacobs the green light with trying to get the tax on the June ballot with a budget of $20,000 in order to orchestrate a research, information and polling contract.
“As you know the state of California wants to take away dollars earmarked for the city,” said Mayor Pro Tem David Shawver, “Friday of this week it looks like he’s going to call for a simple majority vote and it looks like they [legislators in Sacramento] are going to be taking away our redevelopment.”
The other biggest question of the night was what to do about fire and safety.
According to Lt. Jeff Pasalaqua, about 62 percent of the city’s annual budget goes towards covering the cost for fire and police services, contracted through the Orange County Sherriff’s Department and the Orange County Fire Authority, respectively.
One of the questions put forth by Jacobs was that Stanton might want to look elsewhere to provide the city with police services, such as partnering with a neighboring city. That question was stifled once the council had their time to speak.members.
“I would not be able to support going out and soliciting for one of our adjacent cities to service our police services. The Sherriff ‘s department has, since they took over, changed the face of our city . . . crime is down 75 percent, people are happy here, they feel safe here,” said Shawver, “Many cities are considering joinng OCSD to reduce their [law enforcement] costs.”