Close to Home: Measure G will keep Cotati viable

  • Cotati Vice Mayor John Dell'Osso stands in La Plaza Park on Thursday April 18, 2013, by the memorial statue to local accordionist extraordinaire Jim Boggio, where Dell'Osso is putting on the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the incorporation of the city of Cotati, on SAturday July 13, 2013. (Scott Manchester/The Press Democrat)

In 2010, Cotati voters passed Measure A to support essential city services and guarantee a local funding source that could not be taken by the state. Since voters enacted Measure A, Cotati has been able to maintain our Police Department and ensure the department's ability to prevent and investigate property crime.

The economic recovery has been slow, and since Measure A was passed Sacramento grabbed another $600,000 annually from the city's general fund. Additionally, Cotati is faced with rising health and retirement costs. The city has made significant cuts, including a 28 percent overall reduction in staffing, reduced employee benefits and an overall general fund budget reduction of 11 percent. Without further action, Measure A will expire soon, resulting in a loss of $900,000 in annual revenue. The City Council has said that as a result it would consider options including substantial reductions in city services, the potential elimination of the Police Department and even the possibility that Cotati will no longer be able to maintain itself as an independent city.

At a recent council meeting, the results of an independent, statistically valid survey were reviewed and indicated that as many as 63 percent of Cotati residents would support a measure to extend Measure A at a one-cent level for nine years to maintain our local police department and ensure Cotati's financial stability. That equates to one penny for every dollar spent on taxable (non-food) goods. This revenue would remain local and could not be taken by the state. It would help to fund the city's service priorities which include:

; Preventing the elimination of our independent, local police department

; Preventing and investigating property crimes, such as theft and burglary

; Keeping domestic violence response services

; Continuing street maintenance and pothole repairs

If Measure A expires, the challenges to preserving Cotati as an independent viable city will be huge. Extending and increasing this previously voter-approved revenue measure would substantially address the city's needs. Because out-of-town shoppers coming to local destinations pay a majority of Cotati's sales tax, this measure will ensure that they pay their fair share for the local services they use — including our streets, sidewalks, parks and police protection — rather than city residents paying for those services alone.

Measure G includes tough fiscal accountability provisions.

Some of the arguments against this sales tax claim salaries and benefits, along with general fund spending, have increased between 2008-09 and 2011-12. This is simply not true: Salaries and benefits decreased 12 percent and general fund spending decreased 4 percent during this time period. It is important to check the facts. There is more information at the www.cotaticity.org

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