Council to vote on ballot measure to increase local sales tax

By Doug Keeler Midway Driller Editor dkeeler@taftmidwaydriller.com @midwaydriller
City of Taft

The Taft City Council is going to vote Tuesday night on proposed sales tax increase to make up for lost revenue and fund "essential city services" and increasing fire protection costs. 

If the council approves the proposal, the tax measure would be placed on the ballot with the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

It would add an additional one percent to the current state sales tax of 7.25 percent. 

The election date is Sept. 14. It was set on Thursday.

A city staff report estimates he additional tax would generate approximately $1.6 million annually.

That is substantially less than the $2.2 million estimated annual revenue loss from the closure of the Modified Community Correctional Facility that closed its doors a month ago.

A staff report said there are several reasons the tax increase is needed.

"Our City of Taft community has identified vital services which are potentially at risk due to, among other things, the closure of two local prisons, Sacramento red tape and bureaucracy, extreme regulations on the oil and gas industry, and the Coronavirus Pandemic,"the report reads.

In addition, the is facing a drastic increase in fire protection costs.

The Kern County Fire Department is renegotiating contracts with cities around the county, and Taft's fee is expected to double in the next five years.

Taft currently pays approximately $500,000 annually for fire protection.

The city has been forced to declare a fiscal emergency, the report said.

The meeting starts at 6 pm.