The San Rafael City Council unanimously OK’d Tuesday night the city spending $92,510 to have consultants assess if San Rafael officials should continue a half-cent sales tax beyond its 2016 expiration.
The consultants will also determine if the city should consider placing a higher tax measure on the ballot.
Voters passed half-cent sales tax Measure S in 2005. It expires in 2016 and will need voter approval in either 2013 or 2015 to be continued, according to city officials.
The tax currently generates more than $6.5 million annually and funds elements of city services including police, fire, public works and library. The city’s annual general fund budget is roughly $58 million.
To pursue continuing the tax, the San Francisco-based TBWD Strategies will receive $70,000 from the city to produce educational materials and ballot language. TBWD will subcontract San Rafael City Schools board president and former San Rafael council member Paul Cohen of PMCohen Public Affairs to provide outreach to San Rafael business and residential communities.
Cohen has been on the school board since November 2007 and was a San Rafael council member from 1991 to 2007.
San Mateo-based Godbe Research will be awarded $22,510 to “coordinate closely with TBWD and PMCohen,” according to the San Rafael staff report.
Godbe Research has worked with the two latter firms in the past, conducted citizen satisfaction surveys and implemented a past tax measure feasibility survey for San Rafael.
Godbe will conduct a poll in late June and the council would decide in July if a tax measure should be put on the 2013 ballot.
Most San Rafael voters will already be voting on another tax measure this year — San Rafael City Schools is holding a special spring mail-in election asking voters to renew a 24-year-old parcel tax.
In November, Marin voters approved Measure A, a quarter-cent sales tax increase, to preserve open space and farmland and repair park facilities. Measure A’s approval has brought San Rafael’s 2013 sales tax rate to 8.75 percent.
How do you feel about these taxes? Would you support renewing the sales tax, or do you need more information about if?
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