By a unanimous vote, the Orinda City Council voted Tuesday (July 17) to put a tax-increase measure on the November ballot. The measure, if passed, would produce revenue for road-repair. The measure, if voters approved it, would increase the current Orinda sales tax from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent. The tax would apply within Orinda’s borders.
Voting for the measure were council members Steve Glazer, Amy Worth, Victoria Smith, and Dean Orr. Council member Sue Severson was absent.
The sales-tax measure is designed to generate about $600,000 per year to fix Orinda’s roads, which are known to be among the worst in the Bay Area. Some of the money would also go to fix damaged storm drains.
Orinda officials estimate that $60 million are needed to fix all of Orinda’s bad roads.
The measure that the city council put on the ballot requires only a simple majority (50 percent plus one vote) to pass. Under such an arrangement, the current city council — or a future council — could use the tax money for purposes other than road-repair.
If the council had demanded a two-thirds majority (67 percent) for passage of the measure, then all incoming sales-tax revenue, would, upon passage of the measure, have been required to go for road-repair
If the Orinda measure passes, Orinda’s sales tax would equal Concord’s current sales tax. In 2010, Concord’s voters passed a sales-tax measure raising the local sales tax from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent.