Claire McGreal | Stratford Court
Current Sales Tax in Del Mar 8 %
First 7% goes to State and County.
Only 1% stays in Del Mar.
The City of Del Mar is in excellent financial condition. The new City Hall complex is funded by a $12 million low interest bond. Our ten-year Capital Improvement Plan is funded. Our reserves are growing. So, why do we need to increase Sales Tax?
Right now Del Mar has projects that are important to most people, but funding is not available in the current budget. Those projects are development of Shores Park, undergrounding utility wires and streetscape, among others.
• The City is well into the Shores Park Master planning process and the cost estimates will be presented to the community in the coming months. Our designer has three very exciting proposals for development.
• Undergrounding of the utility wires has been a priority for years. We’ve had some success with assessment districts but wires remain throughout most of the City. Undergounding is a specific goal of our Community Plan. Goal 3.F.4. states: “Initiate a continuous program of replacing overhead utility distribution equipment with an underground system.” Also, undergrounding will improve fire safety and beautify our town.
• The City has downtown streetscape plans, which will beautify downtown and make it more user-friendly, benefiting residents, visitors and the local merchants when completed.
The City has an opportunity to raise the sales tax rate by 1% as a revenue source for these priority projects and other general fund activities. At present Del Mar keeps 1% of the current 8% sales tax, with the first 7% going to the State and County. The additional 1% increase would be fully retained by Del Mar. This increase would provide approximately $1.6 to $2 million additional per year in new revenues allowing the city to pay for these important projects.
Our sales tax percentage is capped by state law. There is lots of talk about building a new stadium in San Diego. What if the county raises the sales tax to build a new stadium? That would potentially preclude us from raising our sales tax in town to pay for the things we want. Let’s keep more of the sales tax in Del Mar!
Finally, and perhaps most important, it is estimated that the visitors to Del Mar pay 85% of the sales tax receipts in Del Mar. In effect, the vast majority of funding for these priority projects would be spread across the millions of visitors to Del Mar each year.
Let’s get these projects done sooner than later! It is a good strategy for the community and an important revenue source for the City. To learn more about raising the sales tax, go to ImproveDelMar.com.
The City will be taking a poll in late June and July to assess community support for the sales tax increase. We urge you to support the sales tax increase, so the matter will be placed on the ballot in November 2016 for a community vote.