Council votes to delay election on tax increase

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

The Taft City Council voted Tuesday to delay playing a ballot measure to add a one percent sales tax to raise money to replace lost funding for city services.

The council was going to consider a motion to vote to place it on the Sept. 14 ballot for the recall election targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom, but decided there isn't enough time to do it right.

"There are substantial challenges to the timeliness of being able to get this on the ballot," Mayor Dave Noerr said. "I think it is in the best interest of the council and the citizens of Taft to withdraw it."

The city would prefer to hold the election when it is consolidated with another election to save money.

City Clerk Yvette Mayfield said a consolidated election costs the city about $6,000.

A special election for this measure only would cost more money

The measure will be back on the ballot a future date, possibly the June primary in 2022.

City officials say a sales tax increase is needed to replace funding lost when the state closed the city's modified community correctional facility, other revenue losses and "Sacramento’s burdensome regulations and state money grabs..."

At the same time, the city is facing increased costs, especially for fire protection. The contract with the Kern County Fire Department is going to double over the next five years to $1 million annually.

Taft isn't the only one having problems with the tight election schedule.

News reports say county officials up and down the state are being rushed to get ballots printed for the recall.

The Newsom recall election date was announced last week, and counties up and down the state are scrambling to get their ballots done in time.

KGET News reported that counties generally have 190 days to prepare ballots but now only have 75 for the Newsom recall.