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GP City Council Won't Refer Food & Beverage Tax to Voters Until after Roundtable Forum

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The Grants Pass City Council voted to approve a resolution that enacts a $12 utility fee combined with a 3% food and beverage tax to fund public safety services at its regular meeting on February 21st.

But during its bi-weekly workshop session on Monday, not one City Council member voted to refer the food and beverage tax to the November ballot -- not until a roundtable forum is held to hear from major stakeholders on the issue.

City Manager Aaron Cubic and Finance Director JC Rowley made a presentation on public safety funding along with a potential fire district, a transactional income tax and the general fund reserve financial policy.

Cubic stated that even with revenues to support police and fire services including the permanent property tax, public safety levy and utility fee, the deficit is still close to $4.8 million. He said the 3% food and beverage tax that would focus on prepared foods and beverages excluding alcoholic beverages would generate about $2.3 million. Operators would collect the tax and remit the money to the city while keeping 5% of the tax for doing so. Submissions would occur on a quarterly basis.

Most of the City Council in February had favored referring the food and beverage tax to voters in the November election. However, the panel decided yesterday that they would not refer the tax to voters until they held a roundtable forum with major community stakeholders. While the public safety deficit remains in place, Council members stated a need to sit down with those who would be most affected by the tax.

Cubic reminded the Council of the August filing deadline for the November ballot and said a decision must be made in the near future. A majority of the Council also showed interest in the transactional income tax as well as lowering the current general fund reserve of 30% in order to increase revenue for public safety services.
Posted on 4/2/24 6:00AM by Sam Marsh