Veterans would be benefactors of county measure |

Veterans would be benefactors of county measure

El Dorado County’s Measure V may be similar to Measure Z in subject and location on the November ballot, but the two initiatives are different animals.

“V is for veterans,” county Supervisor Dave Solaro said, trying to distinguish the measure from the city’s initiative. “It’s just a coincidence they’re on the same ballot.”

The measure’s revenue seeks to upgrade the Veterans Memorial Building in Placerville.

While Z seeks to raise the transient occupancy tax, Measure V reinforces a policy already in place. The county has collected 10 percent since 1993.

The tax rate became 8 percent 37 years ago.

A decade ago, county supervisors approved the 2 percentage point increase. At the time, voter approval was unnecessary.

But a Santa Clara County court decision handed down the following year made the policy questionable in that it challenges those revenue-generating decisions without voter approval. Other legal challenges may ultimately overturn the ordinance counties have used to enact such increases.

As a formality, the county is asking for a simple majority vote to maintain the approximate $500,000 it collects in the room tax motel managers charge their guests in the county.

It has no effect on collections in the cities of South Lake Tahoe and Placerville, which have their own tax rates.

But if the measure fails, about 20 percent of the county’s revenue — $100,000 — will be stripped away.

Solaro said the county needs the money to upgrade the Veterans Hall.

“It’s really run down,” he said, citing a leaky roof and windows.

Veterans groups have joined the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce in supporting the measure.

The argument in favor cites the county as already enduring “too many cutbacks and money grabs from the state government. In these uncertain times, we can’t afford to lose another revenue source.”

No argument against Measure V was submitted to the county Registrar’s Office.

Measure Z seeks to raise the transient occupancy tax by at least $1 and double the business and professions license fees to gain revenue for the city. Supporters for this initiative cite the same state take-aways as detrimental to funding local government operations.

As a reminder, the last day for El Dorado County residents to register to vote for the Nov. 5 election is Oct. 21.

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