Tax-raising measure stirs debate

Measure F, which seeks to raise the city sales tax by half a cent, has already earned approval from some of the city’s top brass, but others are not entirely convinced it is the best move for San Bruno.

The measure, if approved by a simple majority, would boost the city’s sales tax half a cent to 8.75 percent, giving San Bruno the highest sales tax rate in the county.

But it would also bring in approximately $2.7 million in annual general fund revenue, freeing up funds that officials say are needed for police, fire, city pool upgrades and planning for the city’s new library.

Mayor Larry Franzella and Councilmember Rico Medina, who is also chair of the Yes on Measure F Committee, said a sales tax hike would be the most fair way to generate new revenue.

Medina, who said he would not have supported a parcel tax, said repaving streets and sidewalks are a priority for him and said many residents would agree. He said there would also be enough money left over for library planning and the other laundry list of items.

Though voters shot down a ballot measure in 2001 to fund a new library, Medina said he thinks voters are more likely to pass a sales tax increase, which is more across-the-board and does not come as a line item increase on property tax bills.

City Council candidate Miguel Araujo, however — running against incumbents Irene O’Connell and Jim Ruane — said Measure F is not a good idea.

Citing the more general requirements on spending of sales tax revenue, Araujo said he is not convinced the money would be spent on the priorities set by the city. He also disagreed that some of the identified priorities, such as the library, are actually priorities for most residents in the city.

“There is an oversight committee, but that committee doesn’t have any power if the money isn’t used correctly,” Araujo said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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