Lake Elsinore Voters Will Decide Whether To Raise Local Sales Tax

Toni McAllister

LAKE ELSINORE, CA — Lake Elsinore residents will get to decide whether they want to pay an additional one-cent sales tax to fund city services.

Tuesday night, the Lake Elsinore City Council voted 4-0 (Council Member Steve Manos was absent) to adopt a resolution that will place a "local transactions and use tax" measure on the November 3 General Municipal Election ballot.

The city's current sales tax is 7.75 percent. If voters pass the measure, the local tax would rise to 8.75 percent, and the city's general fund revenues would increase by about $10 million annually, according to city documents.

The funding would be used to address local public safety and public works priorities identified by the community through the Let’s Talk Lake Elsinore community survey and engagement effort that the city has been conducting over the past year, officials said.

According to the city, the service needs and priorities that were identified include:

  • Preparing for any public health or catastrophic emergency
  • Having adequate 911 emergency capacity
  • Continuing to address homelessness and supporting residents and families in transition
  • Improving fire protection and paramedic services
  • Keeping public areas safe, healthy, and clean
  • Continuing law enforcement services including effectively staffed neighborhood patrols
  • Supporting residents and local businesses through the coronavirus local recovery

In the survey — in which 700 Lake Elsinore voters participated — approximately 71 percent of respondents said they would support the one-cent hike.

Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department Chief Ty Davis threw his support behind the proposal.

“This measure will ensure Lake Elsinore is prepared for any future emergency by making sure the city has enough firefighters and paramedics to respond rapidly to any Lake Elsinore resident or family in need of 9-1-1 assistance,” Davis said.

Lake Elsinore City Manager Grant Yates said nearly all of the city's current sales tax is going to the county and state, and funds generated by the proposed one-percent increase would stay local.

“A locally controlled funding measure will ensure that funds generated in Lake Elsinore can be locally controlled and spent to address residents’ city service needs and priorities,” he said.

Voters from neighboring cities have adopted similar funding measures in recent years, including Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Canyon Lake, Menifee and Hemet.

Placing the measure on the Lake Elsinore ballot is costing the city $15,000 above the costs the city is incurring to conduct council elections, according to city documents. Mayor Pro Tem Robert "Bob" Magee, and Council Members Natasha Johnson and Steve Manos are up for reelection this year.

This article originally appeared on the Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch

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