BY MIA KOTELEC
On March 3, Carmel-by-the-Sea residents will vote on Measure C, a local sales tax increase aimed at generating $4.5 million in annual revenue to improve city infrastructure and public services for the next twenty years.
The measure seeks to raise the town’s sales tax to California’s maximum of 9.25 percent by increasing it by 1.5 percent, as opposed to the current 1 percent rate, serving as a buffer for Carmel’s tourism-based economy, in addition to helping supplement any fluctuations and recent city budget cuts, as explained by the town’s mayor Dave Potter in Dennis Taylor’s article for the Monterey Herald, “Carmel asking voters to raise sales tax.”
Bill Shachture, owner of a part-time property in Carmel proper, expects the tax will provide a necessary cushion amid global crises inevitably affecting the tourism industry.
“From what I know about it, it seems like a well-needed extra step that will hopefully lead to advances in our town’s economy,” Shacture says. “With that coronavirus going around, who knows what’s going to happen to all of the tourism in the area.”
The measure reflects recent patterns on the peninsula, as Monterey is considering the same sales tax increase in an attempt to account for the fiscal emergency the city declared last November.
Intimately familiar with the proposed measure, Carmel resident Todd Muck supports the taxes ability to maximize citizen control over local funds in order to make community improvements.
“Having local funding allows the village [in downtown Carmel] to get ahead of maintenance and safety improvements in the community,” Muck says.
Current Carmel-by-the-Sea resident Janine Silvera is hopeful the measure will help enhance the town’s natural landscape and provide much needed repair for roads in particular.
“I’d love to see them clean up the parks a little bit, but really I’m most concerned about the potholes that are on practically every street,” Silvera adds. “Those need to get taken care of.”
While the concept of a tax increase may initially deter some voters, others express support for the measure as they feel that tourists will bear the burden as they are the ones primarily shopping in Carmel.
Kim Muck, a member of a demographic who doesn’t spend much money in the downtown area, expresses support for the measure as she feels it will not affect her.
“I support the measure because tourists will pay the majority of the sales tax and the funds raised,” Muck says. “I hope it will help address the impacts that visitors have on our community.”