Paso Robles voters will decide on sales tax measure this November

Posted at 9:05 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-20 00:05:44-04

A sales tax hike for the city of Paso Robles is in the hands of voters.

During a special meeting Wednesday night with public input, the city council approved putting the sales tax measure on the November ballot.

Some roads in Paso Robles were redone last month thanks to the existing half-cent sales tax. Bill Malzhan says the street outside his home was completely repaired for the first time in 36 years.

"First time they’ve worked on this, outside of patching potholes," Malzhan said.

Malzhan said it looked like a dirt road before the work.

In November, voters in Paso Robles will decide whether to tack on another half-cent sales tax. This would bump the sales tax in the city from 7.75 percent to 8.25 percent.

The council also voted Wednesday to put a second measure on the ballot that would let voters decide whether the funds would go primarily to street repairs. Mayor Steve Martin says a citizens oversight committee is tasked with that right now.

"We usually spend between $7-8 million a year in street repairs in Paso Robles," Mayor Martin said.

It’s funded by the current half-cent sales tax, the general fund, grants and the gas tax.

The proposed new tax would generate $4-5 million a year.

"I pretty much vote against most tax increases because all we ever need is another half-penny and then a couple years later, all we need is just one more half-penny," Malzhan said.

"It’s not fair," added Linda Clemente of Paso Robles.

If approved, the sales tax would expire at the same time as the current half-cent sales tax — in six years.

The measure will require a simple majority to pass.

The mayor says the city is still working on a plan as to which streets would be repaired if the new tax gets the green light.