Though promoting the need to keep “taxes local,” the proponents of Measure N (the Grass Valley sales tax initiative) spent $3,034, or all of the money for flyers, yard signs and direct mail cards, with out-of-area businesses, according to new campaign finance reports.
“Keep your tax in your community,” the mailer reads. (See below).
Though it could be dismissed as a “rookie-like mistake,” the decision also sends a mixed message to voters who are being asked to support Measure N at the polls on November 6.
Experienced local politicians, as well as prominent business and civic leaders are participating in the “Yes on N” campaign — not rookies. “Oversight” is a dominant campaign theme too.
The expenditures included $1,729 for a direct mail card to Sonic Print of Tampa, Fla.; $781 for 100 yard signs to E-Signs of Spring, Texas; and $524 for 5000 flyers to PS Print of Oakland.
Local outfits who can provide this service include 49er Direct Marketing of Grass Valley (which just had a Chamber ribbon cutting in May); and Solace Graphics in Grass Valley; among others.
In fact, Solace’s yard signs are cheaper — amounting to $5.67 each — according to finance reports for City Council candidate Jim Firth.
The money for the flyers, yard signs and direct mail card for Measure N came from $3,360 in contributions: Grass Valley Police Officers Association ($1,000); Nevada County Professional Firefighters Association ($500); Grass Valley Career Firefighters Association ($500).
Mill Street Clothing, owned by Council Member Lisa Swarthout ($500); Byers Enterprises ($250); the Quick Building, owned by Council candidate Howard Levine ($250); Anthony Clarabut ($200); Ed Thomas $50; and miscellaneous under $99 contributions totaling $110. There’s a balance of $326, the reports show.
Measure N proposes a 1/2 percent sales tax increase within the City of Grass Valley. Unlike “special taxes,” the proceeds of the taxes may be used for “any lawful purpose of the city,” according to the ordinance. A majority, not a 2/3rd vote, is required to pass the measure.
Proponents argue the money is designated for restoring core public safety services and repairing deteriorating city streets. Measure N will add an estimated $2.4 million dollars to the City budget in the first year.
Critics of Measure N worry about oversight of the funds and accountability. Many of them would support a “special tax” instead, requiring the 2/3rd vote.
If the Measure passes, funds will be governed by the City Council. The Council will ge guided by an independent “citizen’s oversight committee.”
The “Committee for Yes on Measure N” held a public meeting to discuss the merits of the measure earlier this month at the Nevada County Contractors Association.
(Click for larger image).
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