The San Anselmo Town Council voted unanimously this week to include a proposal for a half-cent sales tax increase on the upcoming November 5th ballot. The vote was 4-0, as councilman Ford Greene was absent from Monday night’s meeting and did not get to cast a vote. The current sales tax in San Anselmo is 8.5 percent, and proponents for the half-cent increase claim it will bring in $5 million in revenue for the city during the 10 years it would be in place if passed. Supporters also pointed out that other Marin communities have higher sales tax rates than San Anselmo, including San Rafael, which just approved a quarter-cent tax increase from its current rate of 9 percent.
The campaign to raise the sales tax in San Anselmo is being spearheaded by Hutchinson Capital Management adviser Gage Houser, who also serves on the city’s Financial Advisory Committee. “San Anselmo has some of the worst roads in Marin County,” Houser told reporters following Monday’s vote, “We have a lot of potholes and streets in disrepair. This is an opportunity for the citizens of San Anselmo to take action. The longer we keep delaying fixing these roads the more expensive it is going to get.”
While opposition to the proposed sales tax increase has been mostly quiet, a handful of residents spoke out before Monday’s vote, taking issue with the fact that the additional revenue would go into the town’s general fund rather than being earmarked specifically for road maintenance. The group complained that San Anselmo already spends way too much money on salaries and pensions for municipal employees, and said it fears the additional revenue might be used to increase that waste.