Survey Says… Squid gets it, running a city is expensive. Potholes and pensions add up. Since money doesn’t grow on trees, city councils often turn to the low-hanging fruit of the municipal revenue toolbox: sales taxes. A few local cities are considering sales tax measures for 2020, including Monterey (see story, p. 16) and Pacific Grove, which is eyeing a 0.5-percent or 0.25-percent tax, increasing the current tax rate from 8.75 percent to 9.25 or 9, respectively.
At a Pacific Grove City Council meeting on Nov. 20, City Manager Ben Harvey proposed spending $25,000 on a survey to gauge voters’ appetite for various revenue-boosting ideas, including raising the sales tax.
At first it appeared they were all in on the survey, when Mayor Bill Peake spoke up. Why spend $25,000 on a survey? “The election is the survey,” he said.
Squid could see the lightbulbs flash on over other councilmembers’ heads – save money when money is scarce, and hold an election instead of paying extra up front.
Ironically, at the same meeting, the council approved spending more money on salaries, creating senior management positions for two current managers and promoting the human resources manager to a director position.
Like Squid said, expensive.
DRO-marama… Squid spent the weekend navigating the crowds at Trader Joe’s picking up ingredients for shrimp-flavored stuffing. Squid loves Thanksgiving, except for dealing with shopping dramas and early Weekly deadlines and sadly, Squid heard that the cranberry sauce was going to hit the fan at the Del Rey Oaks City Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 26, after Squid’s deadline. (Dagnabit!)
The political drama brewing pre-meeting was that Mayor Alison Kerr was proposing to remove Councilmember John Gaglioti from his post as the city’s representative on the Monterey One Water board of directors, to be replaced with… herself. Kerr tells Squid’s colleague she knows it’s a controversial move, since once a councilmember is appointed to a board, they usually stay put. As a reason, she cites Gaglioti’s recent attempt to suppress the release of a public document, an environmental impact report for the Pure Water Monterey expansion.
Gaglioti thinks Kerr is targeting him because he’s “taking a controversial position” by supporting desalination. Gaglioti also theorizes that his support for desal might be what’s sending constituents into rumormill overdrive with the claim that he’s moved out of DRO while serving on the DRO council. (The fact, Galgioti says, is that his wife and kids are moving to Carmel Valley but he is staying in DRO. “I’m a public official and my life is public, and as far as I’m concerned it’s all fair game,” he adds.)
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Squid hopes everyone can set aside their differences and focus on the issues.