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Alhambra Measure AL on Primary Ballot Would Add .75% Sales Tax for the City

Photo by David Muñoz.

Location

Alhambra , CA

For voters in the city of Alhambra the March 3 Presidential Primary ballot will have a local measure riding piggyback. It is Measure AL, a .75 percent local sales tax ordinance. 

City officials are calling it the Alhambra Community Services and Infrastructure Protection Measure. They project that the ordinance will raise up to $8.1 million a year. According to the city, those funds will go to pay for, among other things, infrastructure improvement, including road repair and bridge retrofitting and the filling of ten open police department positions.

Part of the argument here is that this tax ordinance will keep funds in Alhambra.  At present the state sales tax in Alhambra is 9.5% but much of that goes to the state or LA County. This tax will be in addition to the current tax collected at retail venues and cover many of the same items but the funds should stay in Alhambra. 

Measure AL, which was approved for the ballot by a unanimous vote of Alhambra’s City Council late last year  is a simple yes or no vote and requires 50% plus 1 vote to approve.

An impartial analysis on Alhambra’s web site from city attorney Joseph Montes states that  “The .75% sales tax would be in addition to the existing sales tax and it would be levied on the sale or use of tangible personal property, sold at retail. It is estimated that the proposed .75% local sales tax will raise approximately $8,100,000 annually from retail sales of goods and 100% of the proposed .75% local sales tax would go to the City of Alhambra. Retailers collect the tax at the time of sale and remit it to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, which administers the tax. The tax does not apply to goods or services which are not already subject to state sales tax.”

Information on the city web site about the measure includes a Q&A and offers this observation about the city’s infrastructure: “Road engineers have recently rated many of Alhambra’s paved streets and roads as either “poor,” “very poor” or “failed,” while a number of the City bridges are considered structurally deficient by Caltrans engineers.  There is little more information available in the election packet regarding the city’s street and bridge issues.

Measure AL, the city’s website says, would provide funding to “streets, sidewalks and alleys” as well as conduct “earthquake-retrofitting of city bridges.” The measure would also provide for “upgrading aging playground equipment.”

In making its case for the measure, the city also says that there were 600 burglaries and car thefts in the city in the last year. At present, the literature says, the city doesn’t have the means to hire the 10 vacant police positions currently open. “This impacts all areas of our public safety, including the ability to increase neighborhood, school and business patrols, improve response times, and make our city safer.”

The city also maintains that “Measure AL includes strict accountability provisions including public disclosure of all spending, and annual independent financial audits that ensure funds are used as promised and only to benefit Alhambra residents.”

Alhambra will see new voting procedures for the March 3 primary with the period of window for casting a ballot starting on Saturday, Feb. 22 and extending to the actual election day.

For more information on the new procedures, click on this Alhambra Source story posted Sunday.

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2 thoughts on “Alhambra Measure AL on Primary Ballot Would Add .75% Sales Tax for the City”

  1. The justification provided by Alhambra City Management and the City Council for Measure AL is based on ““feedback from hundreds of Alhambra community members, [where] the top priorities for the community in priority order include: (1) Preventing property crimes, like thefts and burglaries; (2) maintaining police, fire and 9-1-1 emergency response; (3) keeping public areas safe and clean; (4) maintaining essential city services; (5) repairing streets and potholes; (6) helping ensure young people have safe places to play; (7) keeping all funds local by using residents’ taxpayer dollars to benefit Alhambra.”

    The problem is that this “feedback” was generated from a city-sponsored survey mailer that literally mirrored these seven items, asking the public to rank them from 1 to 7. Words were fed to the public such that any returned mailer would simply repeat them, albeit in a different order.

    This makes a mockery of public participation. In coordination with the police and fire departments placing lawn signs in illegal areas without enforcement, it’s fait accompli all over again. We deserve better. Here’s a link to why I’m voting NO on Measure AL: http://sgvog.org/_assets/Why%20I%20am%20voting%20No%20on%20Measure%20AL.pdf

  2. I would like to see a detailed budget projection on how this additional tax revenue would be spent before the vote or I’m more inclined to vote no

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