| FAQ for 2011 Initiative
June 2011 ad from a Hermosa business
2011 Initiative FAQ # 1
Q: Is there any precedent for such a large tax (as proposed by the 2011 initiative) imposed by a city?
Answer: Yes. In 2010 Hermosa collected $1.56 million of Transient Occupancy Tax (bed tax) from the nine motels in town. An average of $173,000 from each business.
Viva Hermosa !
2011 Initiative FAQ # 2
Q: Some people claim that the bar Industry brings a substantial net income to City government coffers, and that without it, the city could not balance its budget. Is that correct?
Answer: No. The Industry operates with a subsidy from the rest of town, necessary due to the Industry's heavy demand for police and other City services. For much more detail about this question, click here.
2011 Initiative FAQ # 3
Q: How much does it cost the City to put one man in a year-round full-time police patrol slot, such as those on the Plaza?
Answer: The FY 2011 - 2012 budget for the HBPD is $10.7 million (not including the cost of the city prosecutor's office, support from City departments outside the HBPD, or settlements not covered by the City's insurance). As of June 2011 the HBPD had 26 or 27 sworn personnel, sergeant and below, who were healthy and available to patrol. Due to time off for vacation, training, and court, they are not available to patrol all the time. For this calculation, we assume 90% availability. Thus, we have the equivalent of about 24.3 police available to fill a year-round patrol slot. Dividing 24.3 into $10.7 million we get $440,000, per patrol slot.
2011 Initiative FAQ # 4
Q: There are some figures, and some statements about City staffing levels, in the Findings and Declarations section of the initiative. Where did that information come from?
Answer: The information came from the City's annual audit report. The applicable pages of the report are here. The City's website has the full report.
2011 Initiative FAQ # 5
Q: If this money is so needed, why hasn't the City Council moved to impose an increase like this?
Answer: Even a Council-originated increase must go on the ballot, and a 4/5 vote of the Council is required to put it on the ballot. In the recent past they have not been able to muster four votes for a substantial increase; Any business license increase they eventually approve is likely to be a small one, bringing in little additional revenue.
At their meeting of June 14, 2011 the Council raised City fees applicable to everyone in town, by $750,000. The fees they raised did not include business license taxes, so the Council's action does not have to be approved by the voters. Details about their previous fee proposals are in FAQ # 2, above.