Officials say they have reached an agreement on their contrasting views on how to spend special sales tax money if voters approve Prop P on April 2.
The ballot measure asks voters whether the city should collect a special half-cent tax for city parks and stormwater problems.
Alderman Herb Adams said the city’s stormwater issue points to the need for the majority of the new tax money to pay for stormwater improvements.
However, Mayor Steve Myers said he envisioned that the tax would help improve and expand the city’s park system.
Myers said research shows that one of the highest priorities of people looking to move to a new community is the availability of parks. He also said Pacific residents are on record saying they want more and better parks.
The pair reached a compromise following a Sunday, March 3, discussion at Adams’ home.
Reading from a prepared statement at the March 5 board of aldermen meeting, Myers said he visited Adams the previous Sunday to hammer out an agreement on the issue.
“I told him (Adams) that I was not leaving until we were in agreement,” Myers said.
Both men stressed that they want voters to know that officials are in agreement on how to spend the new funds. They said it’s crucial that voters have confidence that officials will spend the new tax money to improve the city in the best and most practical way.
Citing a health problem, the mayor left the meeting following these comments, turning it over to Adams, acting president of the board.
Adams said one way to convince voters that the agreement will serve their interest is that once the new tax has been approved the city will hire an engineer to review the city’s parks needs and stormwater problems and present a report to the board of aldermen.
With input from the board, Adams said the engineer would be instructed to examine the entire park system, along with improvement and additions recently identified, and, to survey the city’s stormwater history and identify the improvements that can alleviate neighborhood flooding and property damage.
The engineer will be asked to suggest remedies to each situation and estimate the cost to install, construct or purchase something if the remedy calls for it.
“Once we know what things are needed most and what it will cost, as well as the amount of revenue we expect to receive from Prop P, we can analyze the number of years each project would take,” Adams said. “This will lead us to prioritize the work to be done with Prop P money.”
Adams noted the city has a history of doing a lot with not a lot of money and he will work until the election to convince voters that if they approve the tax propositions, the funds will be spent to make Pacific a better city.
He said a case in point is the current project to remedy stormwater problems that have plagued Hogan subdivision for decades.
“We don’t have a lot of money, but we are going to spend what we have to fix that problem,” he said. “We are showing voters that we intend to fix our problems as they occur and not put things off.”