Council Meeting Focuses on Ballot Initiatives

The first City Council meeting of the 2012-13 fiscal year Tuesday will feature votes on approving language for three major ballot initiatives for November: a sales and use tax increase, a proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage, and an increase in the number of card tables at the city’s two casinos.

The sales tax increase‘s ballot language suggests that a ½ percent sales and use tax for 15 years would go toward “services such as police, fire, emergency response, street maintenance, pothole repair, parks, libraries, and youth and senior programs …”

A city-sponsored telephone survey was conducted regarding potential ¼ and ½ cent sales and use tax increases.

This ballot initiative, as well as an item to prioritize how to restore city services to levels not seen since the beginning of 2011, will be heard last and no earlier than 3pm, according to the agenda.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will also be voting on a sales tax increase.

The minimum wage ballot measure would raise the bottom pay scale in San Jose to $10 an hour with annual increases based on the Consumer Price Index starting Jan 1, 2014.

The gaming ballot measure would increase the maximum number of card tables in San Jose from 98 to 128 on Jan. 1, 2013, and from 128 to 158 on Jan.1, 2014. It could also “allow cardrooms to offer any form of gambling lawful in California after July 1, 2012, without additional voter approval; and require San José to review rules for additional permissible gambling?”

Councilmembers Ash Kalra and Kansen Chu wrote a memo asking that $1 million in charitable donations from Bay 101 and Casino M8trix continue to go to the Asian Americans for Community Involvement nonprofit. A three-year, $3 million grant was awarded to AACI in 2010 to “research the extent of problem gambling in the San Jose area and expand services to problem gamblers and their families.” (On a side note, the Mercury News reports that new card room Casino M8trix will open its doors Wednesday.)

A memo written by City Clerk Dennis Hawkins says that the total cost of placing the three initiatives on the ballot will cost the city $1.84 million.

This, of course, doesn’t include the Save San Jose Libraries ballot initiative that was officially canned at the Rules Committee last week.

Other items on the agenda include:

— Acceptance of the 2011 SAFER Grant of $8.6 million to staff city fire departments through this fiscal year.

— Acceptance of a $4 million donation for expanding soccer fields to be built in Almaden. The city already planned to give a $3.1 million capital contribution, and the donation would serve to enhance the project.

Click to read the San Jose City Council Agenda for August 7, 2012.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

One Comment

  1. “…A memo written by City Clerk Dennis Hawkins says that the total cost of placing the three initiatives on the ballot will cost the city $1.84 million…”

    Dennis added that he has, “no legal obligation to provide anyone with factual information.” threfore the real cost is won’t be known until the taxpayers gets the bill.