It’s not a good time for a tax increase, downtown business owners told the Seaside City Council Monday, April 27. Council members agreed.
They voted to forgo a 5% tax increase to pay for sidewalk cleanup, litter pickup and maintenance in the downtown core.
“We know this is a tough time, but we have a responsibility to make sure we can continue to maintain the services that this district brings, the sweeping contract and care of the downtown gardens,” City Manager Mark Winstanley said in proposing the hike.
The city pays two contractors about $97,600 a year to sweep and take care of city gardens in the downtown maintenance district, an area bordered from east to west by U.S. Highway 101 and the Prom and from north to south from First Avenue to Avenue B.
The proposed increase would have raised the cost to property owners to $9.60 per linear foot. With the increase, the city would have collected $102,000 two contract workers.
Terry Bichsel, chairman of the board of Best Western Hotels and Resorts and owner of Best Western Plus Ocean View Resort and Rivertides Suites Hotel, said this is “a terrible time to do this in respect to the community.”
Bichsel urged the city to reconsider the increase. “I would ask you to go back to those contractors and see if you can just cut a better deal,” he said. “That’s what all of us are doing in the business world right now.”
While calling the district “one of the biggest assets” for the city’s downtown, business owner Jeff Ter Har asked the city to avoid the increase.
“With everything going on, every one of us in our business is finding ways to cut down and go without for a year,” Ter Har said.
With contracts for next year’s sweeping and litter services already in place, the city will ask contractors to forgo “some or all” of the increase, or to alter the scope of services.
“It’s not the right time to be putting in a tax increase,” City Councilor Seth Morrisey said. “I can’t support it.”
Council members voted to continue the 2019-2020 rate of $9.15 per linear foot.
The council will vote on the ordinance in its third and final reading at the city’s Monday meeting.