Lompoc to revisit sales tax proposal at special meeting

Looking to generate $5 million annually

Lompoc to revisit sales tax proposal at special meeting

LOMPOC, Calif. - Whether you're for or against a proposed sales tax in Lompoc, now's your chance to speak up.

The city is hosting a special meeting on Thursday at 6:30 p.m and it wants to hear from the public.

According to the city, the one cent sales tax is estimated to generate $4.9 million annually with 75 percent used exclusively to pay the City's long-term liability obligations to CalPERS (mandatory State pension obligations), and 25 percent used exclusively to pay for the construction and maintenance of city streets, public safety, and city parks.

The measure would end in 15 years.

"We have a huge need to better fund our public safety, both its infrastructure and equipment, as well as improve our parks and streets and maintain our library," said Mayor Jenelle Osborne.

In June, the City approved $3 million in budget cuts, affecting positions at Lompoc's police and fire departments and eliminating $700,000 of overtime for Lompoc Fire Department.

"A super majority of the people have come up to me and said, 'No new taxes,'" said councilmember Jim Mosby.

However, Mosby said he might consider the 1 percent sales tax to fund CalPERS specifically.

"It's upwards of $80 million, this unfunded component of the pension liability, so it's something we definitely need to address," he said. "This potentially can save the public $20 to $40 million by grabbing hold of this debt and paying it off."

"It would be addressing just the CalPERS funding liability," said Osborne. "It would require a 67% passage."

Osborne is encouraging the public to voice their opinions so the city can make a decision soon.

"The earliest we could put the tax measure on the ballot would be for the primary in March of 2020, and the latest we would consider putting it on would be November 2020 elections," Osborne said.  

The special meeting will be held at City Hall on Thursday night beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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