PALMDALE — The City Council, on Nov. 17, tabled its consideration of adjustments to the budget for the city’s voter-approved sales tax, awaiting further information on how the projected additional revenue would be used.

The issue was postponed from the Council’s Nov. 3 meeting, when it ran late into the night.

Proceeds from Palmdale’s three-quarter-cent sales tax, approved by voters last fall in Measure AV, are higher than originally projected, allowing for changes to the budget to provide $1.5 million in grants to nonprofit organizations in the community.

City officials expected the sales tax to generate $15.5 million in the 2022 Fiscal Year, the first full year it was in effect.

The sales tax went into effect on April 1. From April to June, the three months of Fiscal Year 2021 that it was collected, Measure AV generated $2.2 million more than expected, according to the staff report.

As a result, city officials worked with consultant HdL, which helped draft Measure AV, to revise the projections in the budget for the current fiscal year.

Following that analysis, staff recommended the Council agree to revise the Measure AV budget with an additional $1.5 million in revenue and expenditures, with the expenditures going toward additional grants to local nonprofit organizations.

Councilmember Richard Loa said he had concerns about how this grant program would be administered, and how the recipients would be vetted.

“Sometimes, the nonprofits are somewhat top-heavy” with administrative costs, he said. “I’d like to make sure that the money we divert for Measure AV, that it actually assists peoples that are being served by these groups.”

Loa also would like to see some of the additional funding directed to other issues, such as mental health.

Transparency in how the Measure AV funds are spent is also a concern for Mayor Pro Tem Laura Bettencourt.

“I just want to be very sure we are spending this money in accordance with what we said to the voting public at the time that this was voted on,” she said. “I also want to make sure that our city is absolutely transparent about where every single penny of Measure AV goes.”

She requested a link on the city website detailing the Measure AV spending.

Councilmember Juan Carrillo voiced similar concerns about the proposed spending.

“I just don’t feel ready to make this adjustment, because there is no list of programs” in the staff report to correlate with the additional spending, he said.

The Council agreed to table the issue until its January meeting.

(1) comment

Jimzan 2.0

OK Tax first..... then figure out what to squander it on. Don't forget to grab your ankles Sheeple.

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