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Survey Of City Residents Will Gauge Tax Reaction

Escalon is moving closer to putting a measure on the ballot for a new tax – dedicated specially to public safety.

“We did get some results from a survey we put out online, we got 128 responses,” City Manager Tammy Alcantor said.

Mayor Robert Swift had brought the idea of a dedicated sales tax to the council in September, seeking input on placing the measure on the March, 2020 ballot.

Alcantor said it would be proposed as a half-percent sales tax and that half-percent would be staying in the city, earmarked for local public safety services and programs.

With a small sampling from the online survey, Alcantor said they would also be putting a survey into the next utility bill that will be going out Nov. 1; they are working on the best way to insure a high rate of return.

Whatever the final product, Alcantor said they hope to include the postage necessary so residents will be more inclined to fill out the survey and return it to the city.

By making the decision to dedicate the money to a specific area, the measure would have to pass by a two-thirds majority.

“Of the responses we got back (from the online survey) 70 percent were a yes or a definite yes, with 29 percent no and a few unsure,” Alcantor said. “The full intention of the tax itself is for public safety.”

With the half-percent being added to the sales tax, there would be a larger base of people to draw from, as those passing through and making purchases would be contributing as well.

“We haven’t talked about duration,” Alcantor said of setting a time frame for having the half-percent tax in place.

It isn’t even determined if the ballot measure will move forward; city council members will discuss the issue once they have more of a snapshot of what the community is thinking about the added tax.

Officials anticipate it could bring in roughly $280,000 annually to assist with the public safety services.

The council next meets on Monday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall on McHenry Avenue.