Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon addresses the Lassen County Board of Supervisors and the attending public during the special Feb. 5 board meeting regarding the sales tax measure. The city of Susanville and the county now have a revenue sharing agreement should the measure pass.

City, county agree on revenue sharing

Months of collaboration between the city and county led to an updated revenue sharing agreement, which will split up the funds received from the sales tax measure on the June 5 Primary Ballot, should it pass.

Accompanying the discussions regarding the sales tax measure, has been the question of how to split up the funds to both the county and the city of Susanville, both of which noted they could use the funds to help limit dipping into reserves funds and upcoming CalPERS costs, as they stated in previous meetings.

Now, down to the final week of making a decision, the two boards agreed upon an updated joint resolution and agreement, which would split the funds from the potential .75 percent sales tax increase 45 percent to the city and 55 percent to the county. The revenue collected from potential sales tax increase could generate about $2.1 million in total.

“I think this is a remarkable document and effort that really exemplifies cooperation between the city of Susanville that maybe we haven’t seen in quite a while,” said County Administrative Officer Richard Egan. “It’s been somewhat of a strained negotiation from time to time, but this is an excellent example of how the city and county can and should work together.”

Lassen County currently collects 7.25 percent for sales tax, with 6 percent remaining with the state, 1 percent to local jurisdiction and .25 percent to the local transportation fund.

Of the 1 percent collected for local jurisdictions, 100 percent of the revenue from sales occurring in the unincorporated territory of the county goes to the county. In the incorporated territory of the county, the city receives 95 percent of the revenue for points of sale, and the county gets 5 percent of the local revenue from sales in the city.

“We’re very optimistic that the district tax passes and that this goes into effect,” said the Interim City Administrator Dan Newton. “It desensitizes a high level of competition. In other words, if there’s growth in the county, the city benefits and if there’s growth in the city the county benefits. That’s a playing field that we really haven’t found ourselves in historically. I think there’s a lot of good things that could come from this.”

The Susanville City Council voted unanimously in favor of the tax sharing agreement during the Monday, March 5 meeting, and the supervisors unanimously approved the agreement at its Tuesday, March 6 meeting. As a result, the city council pulled it’s contingency sales tax measure of its own for a .5 city retail tax increase, should the county and city not be able to work out a revenue sharing agreement.

The measure, which will be on the June 5 Primary Election Ballot, poses voters with the .75 sales tax increase and includes an accompanying advisory measure, which is non binding, that will allow voters to show the county where they would like the revenue to be spent, and asks voters if they want 75 percent of the incoming tax funds to go toward public safety.

The measure will need a simple majority of voters to pass.
At previous meetings, residents spoke about how they would only support a tax going specifically toward public safety. However, that would make it a special tax, requiring 66.67 percent of the vote to pass – a threshold the boards found too high to meet.