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Lompoc residents attend forum to discuss sales tax measure

Naja Hill
Lompoc residents attend a community forum on the sales tax measure that will be on March ballots.

LOMPOC, Calif.-

City councilman Jim Mosby spoke to voters tonight on how a sales tax measure could change the city's budget woes. The proposal is on the March ballots.

The community gathered to hear how the 1% sales tax measure will potentially be spent if residents vote in favor of it.
Thursday nights discussion was how the city can use the tax to save money and pay off debt – specifically retirement payments.

“I am in favor of the tax, Lompoc needs it, in order to promote public safety again,” said Lompoc resident Kathy Howard.

The City Clerk's office says the tax will cover services like public safety, street repairs, community services, and more.

“I am only in favor of the tax measure if it is used to pay for the pension,” said Lompoc resident Nicholas Gonzales.

Mosby presented to residents a plan he says will save the city millions.

“If we do a one time reset of the unfunded pension liability and pay it off in ten years as opposed to 30, we will save about 45 million dollars in interest payments,” said Mosby.

Some residents agree.

“If they commit that tax measure to pay off the CalPers pension debt, it is going to free up other funds,” agreed resident Gonzales.

City officials report the sales tax will earn $4.8 million dollars in revenue each year.
They also report the tax will go toward day-to-day services.

“Hopefully we can set emotions aside and just look at the black and white. And see what opportunities we might have should this tax pass,” said Mosby.

The tax would be placed on the purchases of goods, not services or property taxes.

“We will be able to support the police department and the fire department, and both of those safety departments are hurting because we don't have the tax base to fund them fully,” said Lompoc resident Janet Blevins.

Some residents were still skeptical and not in support of the tax.
Others asked questions about if the tax measure would go toward the city hiring a gang unit to crack down on gang-related crime.

The city plan is for the tax to end in 15 years' time.
The measure will be on March 3rd ballots.

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Naja Hill

Naja Hill is a reporter for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Naja, click here.


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