It’s a numbers game for those urging South Pasadenans to vote for Measure A, a ballot measure asking South Pasadena voters to approve a new 0.75 percent increase in the sales tax to help balance the city’s budget.
Tossing out a lot of figures was Dean Serwin, the co-chair of the measure, in attendance at a recent City Council meeting and pizza party in Eddie Park last Sunday.
What it means to the consumer, noted Serwin is about 38 cents on a $50 purchase.
He hopes residents will take the figures he provides at public events seriously, most notably the claim, “South Pasadena faces a $1 million deficit for the next fiscal year, growing to $2 million in five years.”
Serwin says rising costs, including increasing public employee pension (CALPERS) funding requirements, along with labor and material, combined with flat or decreasing revenue from property taxes and the UUT are responsible for the shortfall.
South Pasadena citizens have two choices, contends the Measure A co-chair – raise revenue, such as a sales tax increase or drastically cut services.
The issue will be decided on Tuesday, November 5, when the public go to the polls.
“Cutting costs means cutting staff and services for things we care about – like police, fire, and paramedic officers and support, infrastructure maintenance and repairs, and seniors, the library and our parks,” Serwin explained. “And because expenses are increasing every year, additional cuts would be required each year.”
As a measure of support, he said a recent survey showed 68 percent of South Pasadenans support a sales tax increase to raise funding. He said only 1 percent of sales tax revenue currently comes back to the city’s general fund.
“Measure A will nearly double that amount, generating an additional $1.5 million per year, every penny of which will stay in South Pasadena,” said Serwin. “And these funds are subject to oversight by a mandated annual independent financial audit.”
Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Irwindale and Claremont are scheduling similar ballot measures on the November 5 ballot. Twenty seven other cities in the county, including Arcadia, Pasadena, Pomona, Burbank and Pasadena, have passed sales tax increases. Serwin said more cities will like push for passage of a sale tax adjustment in the future.
For more on Measure A, proponents have developed a website at SouthPasYesonA.com