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Duarte fiscal-emergency vote fails in bid to seek sales-tax boost

August 1, 2012 | 10:48 am

 A proposal to declare a fiscal emergency in order to place a sales-tax increase before voters in the city of Duarte failed Tuesday night.

Duarte officials said the loss of redevelopment money had hit the city hard and might necessitate more budget cuts after several years of reducing staff and services.

A consultant hired by the city to look at various revenue-generating ideas projected that an added 0.25% sales tax would bring in an extra $953,319 annually, and a 0.5% tax would raise $1.9 million a year. The city's current sales-tax rate is 8.75%.

Because no council seats are up for election in November, state law required a unanimous vote of the City Council to declare a fiscal emergency in order to place the tax increase on the ballot. The vote was 4-1, with Councilman Phil Reyes dissenting, meaning that the resolution failed.

Duarte Mayor John Fasana said the proposal would not be brought back this year, as the vote Tuesday means the council did not meet the required timeline to put the measure on the ballot.

"That kind of leaves us now really looking at making some cuts to bring things a little closer into balance," he said.

Fasana said among the items the council had talked about cutting if the tax increase failed are a sheriff's deputy position and weekend staffing for restrooms in the city parks.

But city officials have also said that Duarte is nowhere near the fiscal straits that would require it to declare bankruptcy. The city has a structural deficit but has not spent through its reserves, which stand at about $5 million.

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— Abby Sewell

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