Study sessions begin mid-January

ATASCADERO — Atascadero voters approved D-20, the 1-cent general sales tax measure, in the November election and city officials are beginning their public outreach via 10 public meetings starting in mid-January. 

Measure D-20 was placed on the ballot as an “essential services transactions and uses tax” to provide funding for fire protection, paramedics, and 911 emergency response, police, crime prevention, and investigations, maintenance of parks, public facilities and infrastructure, graffiti removal, and recreations, community services, and other general city services in the City of Atascadero.

As a general sales tax measure, the City is not legally required to spend the funds raised from the increase in any one spot and needed 50-percent-plus-one to pass the measure. Special sales tax measures, which legally restrict funds to one particular purpose, require a two-thirds majority. Atascadero voters responded with more than 58% voting in favor of the increase. 

“Thank you to the Atascadero voters for passing the sales tax measure on the November ballot,” Atascadero City Manager Rachelle Rickard said in the Dec. 8 City Council meeting. “We want to ensure public participation and that residents have plenty of opportunities to have their voices heard regarding how these additional funds should be spent. We are holding a series of 10 meetings, nine study sessions, and the kickoff.”

The public outreach and informational meetings will begin with a kickoff session at the Jan. 12 City Council meeting, which can be viewed online at the City’s website. Following the first meeting, Atascadero will hold nine more at staggered times to ensure everyone has the opportunity to attend at least one session. 

The meeting schedule is as follows:

Study Session 1: Thursday, Jan. 14 at 10 a.m.

Study Session 2: Thursday, Jan. 14 at 2 p.m.

Study Session 3: Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 4 p.m.

Study Session 4: Saturday, Jan. 23 at 10 a.m.

Study Session 5: Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.

Study Session 6: Friday, Jan. 29 at 12 p.m.

Study Session 7: Monday, Feb. 1 at 1:30 p.m.

Study Session 8: Thursday, Feb. 4 at 4 p.m.

Study Session 9: Saturday, Feb. 6 at 9 a.m.

At the July 14 and Sept. 22 City Council meetings, the Council established two phases to implement public engagement and accountability should the sales tax measure pass. The public outreach informational meetings are the first part of the two-phase operation. Phase one is to gather input and public process. Phase two will deal with accountability and include an annual report to be reviewed along with the City’s annual audit at a heavily publicized joint meeting on the Finance Committee and the Citizens Sales Tax Oversight Committee (CSTOC).

The CSTOC was established in 2014 after the City’s last sales tax measure approval. The Committee is composed of nine community members; seven members are appointed to the Committee by individual Atascadero community groups, and the City Council appoints two members.

The 1-cent sales tax bump will increase the City of Atascadero’s sales tax from 7.75% to 8.75% and is expected to generate $4.5 million in additional annual revenue. The tax will become effective no sooner than April 1, 2021. 

For more information, go to the City’s website at www.atascadero.org

Getting through this together, Atascadero