Possible Sales Tax Increase on the Horizon | City Aims to Improve Revenue

City staff has been actively seeking community input for the past several months on a variety of ideas to balance the City budget, including revenue enhancements and budget cuts

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | South Pasadena City Hall

Could South Pasadena be faced with a possible sales tax increase?

It’s just one of the measures city officials are considering to improve its bottom line.

South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe, along with several staff members, have been actively seeking input at a series of community meetings over the past several months asking residents for ideas to balance the city budget, including revenue enhancements and proposed cuts.

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PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Stephanie DeWolfe, the City Manager, gives her presentation on solving the budget gap at a WISPPA meeting

The South Pasadena City Council recently heard a long-range budget forecast that is expected to show increased deficits during the next five years. The council is looking at options to close an anticipated budget gap.

Along with seven community meetings, the city is asking residents to weigh-in on efforts to improve the budget through an online survey on its website. To date, more than 350 responses have been received.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Councilmember Richard D. Schneider during a strategic planning meeting with City Council and City officials

“One of the most popular options among the revenue enhancements was a ¾ of a cent sales tax increase, favored by about 65% of respondents,” said John Pope, the city’s public information officer. “Residents were particularly supportive when presented with the likelihood that L.A. County would enact a similar tax hike to supplement the County budget, leaving South Pasadena without a mechanism for additional local funds.”

Based on that feedback, “we moved forward with a professional poll to test the results of our informal study.” Pope said, noting the city contracted with True North Research for $25,000 to finalize the results now that the polling is complete.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | City of South Pasadena Public Information Officer, John Pope, speaks

“The $25,000 cost of the study is a relatively small investment to potentially realize a $1.5 million annual revenue source that would enable the city to continue providing the high level of local services that our residents support,” explained Pope.