The sales tax rate in the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale will increase to 10.25% — the maximum allowable sales tax rate in the state — beginning April 1. The current rate is 9.5%.
Citizens in both cities approved the three-quarter cent sales tax increase in the Nov. 3 election when they supported Lancaster’s Measure LC, and Palmdale’s Measure AV.
The extra revenue — an estimated $12. 8 million annually in Lancaster and about $12 million annually in Palmdale — will help preserve essential safety services such as 911 emergency response, maintain streets, and keep parks and other local areas safe.
All Measure LC and Measure AV funds will remain in their respective cities, untouchable by Los Angeles County or the state. Both measures require strict fiscal accountability, including a citizens’ oversight committee and public reporting. Groceries, prescription medication and other essential items are exempt from sales tax.
“We believe that residents need to reap the benefit of living in our amazing City as much as possible,” city officials said in a statement. “Before Measure LC was passed, only a small portion of sales tax revenues remained in Lancaster. Most of it was given to other (wealthier) cities in LA County.
“Providing additional, locally controlled revenues and keeping more of our sales tax dollars here in Lancaster could provide approximately $12.8 million annually to help us maintain emergency services, keep our parks and other public areas clean and safe, and protect the quality of our city’s infrastructure. It also opens the door to supporting local entrepreneurs, economic recovery, mental health, homelessness, creating programs for our youth and senior citizens and other community services, allowing our public safety officers to focus on crime prevention to keep Lancaster neighborhoods safe. We pay a few cents extra for our coffee but have additional means to improve our City.”
Palmdale officials also welcome the additional funding.
“Last November we asked Palmdale voters to approve Measure AV, a three-quarter-cent sales tax to help the City obtain the funding necessary to continue our mission of building a stronger and more vibrant city,” Mayor Steve Hofbauer said. “Our voters approved it and I can’t say enough how much we appreciate their trust in us.”
Palmdale Mayor Pro Tem Laura Bettencourt said the City does not take passage of Measure AV lightly.
“We are committed to applying these funds to key programs,” she said, “such as public safety; investing in new parks and keeping our existing parks open, safe and clean; supporting veterans; repairing streets and potholes; addressing homelessness; enhancing programs around food distribution, mental health and other services for those who need it; upgrading emergency communications; and partnering with local faith based groups, non-profits and local sports youth programs.”
City Manager J.J. Murphy said the City is recruiting for its Measure AV Oversight committee.
“We look forward to working with them to help us prioritize and carry out the tasks at hand during these difficult COVID-19 times,” he said. “These funds will allow us to invest in improving our overall quality of life in Palmdale.”
The deadline to apply for the unpaid appointments is Thursday. Potential members should live in Palmdale or own a business in the City. They should also be willing to serve a minimum of two years on the committee. Members may not be an elected official. People can apply at https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/palmdale