County board rejects idea for sales tax, deal with cities

Robert Rivas is shown at right on the dais.

Supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-2 against an idea to support placing a countywide 1 percent sales tax on the ballot with a tax-sharing agreement among the cities and county.
Supervisors Robert Rivas, Anthony Botelho and Jerry Muenzer were against the idea, with Supervisors Margie Barrios and Jaime De La Cruz supporting it.
The special tax would raise about $5.6 million throughout the county. Complicating the consideration has been the existing 1 percent sales tax in Hollister that expires in the spring of 2018.
The county’s current sales tax is 7.5 percent. Hollister is at 8.5 percent with its 1 percent tax. San Juan Bautista’s tax is 8.25 percent with a permanent, special sales tax in place there. The state caps any municipalities total tax rate at 9.5 percent.
Hollister and county officials have talked at the intergovernmental committee about level placing tax measures on the ballot in 2016. There could be as many as three separate sales tax measures on June or November ballots next year—from the county, City of Hollister and Council of San Benito County Governments to fund road improvements.
Supervisors also voted 3-2 against a motion from Rivas to support placing a 1 percent tax measure on the ballot, but just for unincorporated areas of the county. He and Botelho supported the idea.
The board agreed to propose a joint meeting with the cities’ council members to discuss it further. They discussed 5 p.m. May 26 or June 3 as possibilities.
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