The May 15 city of Lompoc budget workshop was another séance in budget perfidy. The “triad” of Jim Mosby, Dirk Starbuck and Victor Vega were at it again, nickel-and-diming the budget to get it cut so it will be balanced, again at the cost of city services, but refusing to directly consider a 1 percent sales tax.
The city needs more income, and it will not get it by more cuts, as explained by the city’s professional finance staff. It needs the millions of dollars the sales tax can generate. The “triad” was responsible for shelving the sales tax in 2017, and instead took the funds to place it on the ballot and put them into balancing the budget. Had the sales tax passed then, the city would have been $10 million richer today.
Here we are, two years later, and we still have the same problem, generated by the same “triad,” of a chronic shortage of funds. The city attorney presented the options for a sales tax in the 2019-20 time frame. It is most obvious to all, except the spineless “triad,” that we need a sales tax that will generate up to $5 million in needed funds to cover services and pay down the debt to CalPERS. The best opportunity is before us right now. The five City Council members need to declare a financial emergency — and there is one — and then place the sales tax on the ballot this November. They will have to get the tax wording approved by the end of August to make this time frame. And the tax must be a general sales tax with a 50 percent plus one voter approval needed — not a special tax needing 67 percent approval, which would be harder to get.
These five council persons have to get realand solve our budget shortfalls now, or they will continue to grow in the next years. We have no other choice. There is no downside to the sales tax. Let the citizens vote on it. Other cities have done so, and most sales taxes passed. The triad’s flailing around two years ago is the reason for our shortcoming now. They are entirely at fault for numerous people losing their jobs and reduced city services.