Claire McGreal | Stratford Court
|“The Queue, Del Mar,”
... line-up for the beach shower
Watercolor by Don Coordt.
Click on photo to enlarge.
Del Mar is a city of about 4,000 residents with nearly 5 million visitors per year. Presently Del Mar’s sales tax is 8% of which the City keeps only the last one percent which amounts to $1.6 million per year. If we add another 1%, Del Mar would keep the entirety of the increase, effectively doubling it sales tax receipts.
Our City budget is about $13 million per year, much of which is spent on vital services such as police, fire, lifeguard to protect residents and visitors alike. Other services such as roads, sidewalks, parks and beaches also serve both residents and visitors.
The City’s Finance Department has reported that about 80% of sales taxes in Del Mar are paid by visitors. Therefore about 80% of an increase of 1% will be paid by visitors. It’s time for visitors to pay their fair share.
Now is the time to increase our sales tax. In our Sales Tax District, there is a district cap. The County or SANDAG could step in and impose an increase to help pay for a new football stadium, or other costly item. Such a prospect is not far-fetched, if the proposed TOT increase in San Diego fails at the polls. Isn’t it better for us to impose an increase now, keep the entirety of the increase in the City to be spent by the City, rather than to wait and have the county or SANDAG decide to increase the tax for their purpose?
Since 1976, a stated Goal of our Community Plan has been to achieve citywide undergrounding. Only about 15% of the poles have been removed in 40 years. Undergrounding will not only improve public and private views, it will also increase safety and expand Del Mar’s beauty. Let’s devote some of the Measure Q money to complete undergrounding, to develop Shores Park, to complete the long-planned downtown “Streetscape”, and to repair our residential streets. These uses will benefit all of Del Mar!
It is very encouraging to know that the Business Support Advisory Committee has formed a subcommittee to look at how some of the new Measure Q tax dollars should be spent in the downtown area. The merchants will also benefit from passage of Measure Q, making Measure Q a win-win for the entire community of residents, visitors and merchants.