CHICO — The city of Chico is proposing a one percent sales tax increase for the November 2022 ballot.
During its meeting Tuesday evening, the Chico City Council voted to bring in consultant Clifford Moss to aid in creating the language for the ballot measure with a cost cap of $91,500.
City Manager Mark Orme said the consultant will also conduct outreach with the community as part of its contract with the city in order to produce information regarding the proposed measure.
“After going through an (request for proposal) process, Clifford Moss proved to be head and shoulders about the others,” Orme said. “Therefore it is my privilege to recommend approval of this request.”
Orme said when looking at the city’s 10-year financial plan, the largest needs consisted of capital projects, policing, parks, public works and the airport. The combined cost of running these services comes out to an estimated total of $764 million. According to Orme that is well over 90 percent of the city’s needs.
In September, the council voted to put the sales tax on the November ballot and initiate the process.
Tom Clifford of Clifford Moss joined the meeting to answer questions as they came up.
Councilor Alex Brown asked what the outreach with the community would look like considering the timing of the sales tax proposal.
“This is an awkward time to ask the community to pay more with inflation due to COVID-19,” Brown said.
Clifford said the city had previously done its own outreach to with the community to see if a sales tax could garner support from voters.
“There are better times and worse times to ask for revenue and one of the things that is interesting here is that you authorized polling, I think, some time ago to look at this and there was certainly a level of support,” Clifford said. “Things have changed since then. What I can tell you is we do this work across California.”
According to Clifford, the 2020 election was a particularly tough time for local measures, though Chico’s pulled through.
Clifford also said his firm has won 95 percent of its measures.
In terms of cost, Orme said the city is hoping to keep it as low as $77,000 but asking for the full $91,500 to allow for extra room should the city decide to add more outreach on the measure.
Councilor Sean Morgan said that the proposed measure was not about taxing people but to help provide services wanted by the public such as road repair.
The Chico City Council mostly meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 421 Main St. Meetings are free and open to the public.