West-Slope only tax won’t occur
A proposed sales tax in El Dorado County that would fund road improvements won’t be limited to the West Slope according to the head of the county’s Department of Transportation.
DOT Director Michael Stoltz said on Monday that the legislative relief needed to have a West Slope-only initiative didn’t materialize. El Dorado officials considered leaving out the county’s portion in the Tahoe Basin because there was talk of having a basinwide sales tax for transportation.
“If we are to deal with snow removal and road improvements there will have to be an incorporated sales tax measure for all of the county,” Stoltz said.
State law requires a simple majority approval for a sales tax measure but under the conditions of an isolated initiative, legislators said an added amendment would have to include a two-thirds support by voters.
The half-cent sales tax is slated for the November ballot and would bolster DOT’s anemic budget. The agency plans to lose $1.5 million from its road maintenance program in the next fiscal year.
The Meyers Roundtable endorsed the countywide concept in January because the group didn’t want to be left out of the loop. Under the West Slope-only measure, county roads in the basin would be neglected. Funding would then have to come from another source such as an increased homeowners’ parcel fee.
The sales tax debate tops the list of roundtable topics at Wednesday night’s meeting at Meyers Elementary School, beginning at 7 p.m.
Stoltz added he won’t make a final recommendation to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors until next month. In the meantime, he plans to make more presentations to community groups so they are fully informed about the measure’s progress.
“We always strive to seek community support and it is incumbent upon me to tell them what we intend to do,” Stoltz said.
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