Petaluma council set to weigh tax measure, development projects


The Petaluma City Council will tackle several issues at Monday’s meeting, including a formal vote to put a 1 cent permanent sales tax increase on the ballot, and a discussion over allowing an eastside apartment complex to expand by nearly 100 units.

Council members voted last meeting 5-2 to put the tax hike question before voters in November, but the issue needs a second, usually routine, vote before it can move forward.

The council will also discuss writing a ballot argument in support of the sales tax hike and a rebuttal argument if any opponent submits an argument against the measure.

The tax would be a general tax, meaning it needs a 50 percent plus one majority to pass. All proceeds would go into the city’s general fund to be spent however the City Council decides.

In an effort to reassure voters the money would not be spent primarily on employee salaries, pensions and benefits, the council is expected to list a series of “priorities” that voters have said are important.

Those include the Rainier Avenue cross-town connector and interchange with Highway 101, road and sidewalk repairs, flood protection and storm drainage.

It will also list city-identified priorities including “restoring public safety position” and relocating or remodeling police and fire department buildings.

Council members have said they would account for the tax proceeds separately from the greater general fund, keep a separate budget and audit the expenditures publicly each year.

Also, the council will formally approve the Riverfront mixed-use project at 500 Hopper St., which it tentatively supported last month. Several representatives from construction trade unions have urged the council to delay the project for additional environmental study. The city’s environmental report concludes there are no health hazards at the site.

Another project may be more controversial.

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