Milpitas Will Not Seek New Tax in June

City will wait until November to ask voters for more money.

City leaders will decide Tuesday whether to ask voters to approve a new tax in November's general election, following poll results released Wednesday showing a majority of residents support the idea.

The decision is a change from the city's tentative plan to go to voters in June. Milpitas declared a fiscal emergency last week with the idea that residents might decide on a new tax in three months instead of eight. That declaration would have made it easier for the tax to pass, requiring only a majority or voter approval instead of the typical 2/3 "yes" vote.

However, Milpitas general manager Tom Williams said in a statement Wednesday that the "intensity" of support for a new tax was not as high as the city would like. While 61 percent of those polled said they would support a new, half-cent sales tax, only 28 percent of those said they would "definitely" vote yes. 

The survey also showed that 16 percent of Milpitas voters believed the city was in "great need" of funding; 37 percent believed the city was in "some need"; 23 percent felt the city had "a little need"; and 17 percent felt the city had "no need" for more money.

The poll surveyed 400 voters by phone on Feb. 19-21.

"It was surprising to learn that despite the $6.5 million in budget cuts, the reduction of 116 employee positions and employee concessions of up to 15 percent, voters still were not well informed of our funding needs," Williams said. "Part of our goal going into November will be to do more to educate the residents of Milpitas about the dire financial condition of our city."

The move comes after Milpitas Unified School District voted Tuesday to ask voters in June to approve a new property tax to raise $95 million for school repairs and improvements.   

The city council meeting will be 7 p.m. at Milpitas City Hall. 

Sifu Paddler March 02, 2012 at 06:11 AM
The story hit the nail on the head. Don't blame city hall...blame yourself. It is discouraging to know that a cross section of the citizenry is ignorant of the issues that affect us all. While it is easy to blame or mock the city government, its is a whole other problem that people cannot take a moment to not only learn about what is going on, but also to do their own research and come a conclusion to form an opinion. Unless a vested interest is threatened by the chopping block, don't expect too many people to get involved.
Norm March 02, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Excellent point Sifu. It is not always that easy/convenient for us to find out the whole story why the city council does what it does before we spout off with our opinions.
Sifu Paddler March 02, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Thanks Norm. But here's the thing. For the same time it takes to log into Patch or say the same time to unfurl my favorite paper, I was able to look at the agenda for the upcoming council meeting online. The first agenda item under 'Unfinished Business' addresses the Fourth of July celebration and library cuts in response to the current financial situation. There was even a little acknowledgement to the Patch for bringing the issue back for re-examination and public input. The sixth item addresses the recent poll on tax increases and the results. The firm charged with conducting the poll will do a presentation and share their methodologies. The council meetings as well as the various commission and school board meetings and their agendas and minutes are available online and open to the public. Again, unless there is a vested interest (ie/ Rainbow Theatre, Tidal Waves, Library) is threatened, don't expect people to get involved. Here's the other thing. Services like PD, FD and public works are generally taken for granted of as most people think that such will always be there and will always be provided. True that these services could be potentially outsourced. The net outcome in dollars and cents will likely be more with additional costs in inconvenience, reduced response times and appropriate follow-up. The City of Milpitas incorporated for the very reason of providing their own services. Otherwise we would just be a suburb of San Jose.
Norm March 02, 2012 at 06:48 PM
You're right - I suppose it's human nature to pay no or little attention to something like city affairs unless you, or something you're interested in is affected. Perhaps the city council itself was a little complacent until the redevelopment money was ripped away? Seems like contracting-out and outsourcing is the answer to everything these days. Maybe the city should do some PR about how bad the financial situation actually is. Many citizens don't have much of a clue. Or care.
Sifu Paddler March 02, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Indeed and you have hit the nail on the head yourself. 'Complacency' is both symptomatic and systemic of the degeneration of how things are to be done in the business world. As an incorporation, the dealings and operations of city government are to be run as a 'business'. People pay taxes...cities provide services. Its that simple. Unfortunately once the RDA dollars have been cut off by the state, Milpitas like our neighboring cities begin to panic. Why? Because the umbilical has been cut off. Now projects funded by RDA have to either be canceled or paid for in another way and in result, start looking at other expenditures such as city services. And that's too bad too because cities that have used RDA well have really benefitted.


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