Took some searching through the city website schlock but found it. Go here: Pacific Grove / Annual (opengov.com) Then scroll down to Data, where it defaults to Summary Table and finally click Check Register. You’ll have to scroll to the right to get to the good information, and maybe click on a column divider to widen the cells enough to read. But hey, that’s what we get when there’s no schlock.
City councilman Luke Coletti proposed that city hall publish the monthly check register so taxpayers can easily see how much the city spends monthly on things like pension costs, water and power expenses, reimbursement to city employees and many other things.
Coletti, who was elected in November 2020, made a campaign promise to “establish policies and programs that ensure fiscal transparency and public access.” City staffers agreed to publish the information. “It’s a total no-brainer as far as I’m concerned,” he told The Pine Cone about city hall’s release of the check register. “Carmel, as well as many other local jurisdictions and agencies, have been releasing their registers for years. Pacific Grove used to — a long time ago — and I wanted to reestablish the practice,” Coletti said.
City Reveals It’s Checkbook
Do these businesses in the residential areas have full ADA access like real businesses? What about safety items like fire sprinklers?
Pacific Grove continues to grapple with a revenue shortfall, one that the city’s newly revised short-term rental program is meant to diminish Mayor Bill Kampe said in his State of the City address on Tuesday night.
That’s where the topic of short-term rentals came in with Kampe providing a short history of the city’s program that started in 2011 and was expected to generate $200,000 a year in revenue but now exceeds $1 million in transient occupancy tax. On Feb. 21, the city council passed an ordinance 4-1 that amended the city’s new short-term rental policy adopted in December to include a lottery system, which functions to get the number of STRs down from 290 to 250 and make it so that only 15 percent of housing per block is dedicated to such rentals.
Kampe Crys Insufficiency Asks STRs To Save The City
Coalition against citywide admissions tax. But that Half Fast Marathon. That thing blocks the streets.
Besides the aquarium, the coalition includes the Big Sur International Marathon and the Friends of the Pacific Grove Public Library, among other area nonprofits.
Proponents of the tax say that a 5 percent fee attached to aquarium admissions, for example, is only fair because of the city’s need to pay for the repair and maintenance of the city’s infrastructure, including city roads, sidewalks, paths and the Monterey Bay Recreation Trail.
No P Posse Proselytizes People
P.G. not the only town looking under rocks in the tide pools for treasures.
On Tuesday night, the Monterey City Council voted 3-2 to hire an appraiser to evaluate the land.
Several residents spoke against the appraisal, asking why the city wants to spend $31,000 of the tideland fund, but Monterey City Manager Mike McCarthy says the lease agreement allows the city to perform rent review.
“Our lease with the aquarium for the tidelands requires a review on the rent,” McCarthy said.
One dollar per year is all the State Lands Commission wanted when the aquarium first asked to build on the tidelands in 1981.
Monterey Now Eyeing Aquarium For More Rent
Increasing business tax as other sources for more money fail.
The proposed increase would take the current rate from $0.001 per dollar of gross receipts to $0.0024.
If passed, the initiative would also remove the current cap.
Right now, if a business makes more than $3 million in gross receipts, they only pay $3,000 in business license tax because that is the current cap.
City Manager Ben Harvey said there are about 20 businesses in Pacific Grove affected by the cap.
The city has been exploring ways to increase revenue for months and this is one of the ideas the council thinks could work.
City Proposing A 140% Tax Hike
Admission taxes and business taxes, those will save us.
The citywide admissions tax would apply to ticket sales for all attractions, including movies, sporting and special events, tours, concerts and the aquarium. Approximately 20 percent of the aquarium is located under Pacific Grove’s jurisdiction.
The other tax in question on Wednesday will be the city’s business tax license. The current cap for a business license is $3,000 with the minimum cost set at $15.
Options proposed to the city, to be considered separately or in combination, include removing the $3,000 maximum tax cap, retaining the cap and increasing the tax rate, or removing the cap, streamlining the process by eliminating the separate current tax/process method and applying a tax rate by business type.
Ticket Taxes, That’s the Ticket
OK if they offer incentives that can reduce the tax, like being open 7 days a week and at least 10 hours per day. Tax property owners for empty storefronts.
The current cap for a business license is $3,000 while the minimum cost is $15. City Manager Ben Harvey said that both figures should be a lot higher.
“Both need to be reviewed and raised,” said Harvey. “We will bring back different scenarios to the council and what each one would potentially yield to the city.”
Business Tax Hike In The Works
Build more hotels, attract more visitors. Do you really like waking up to weekend neighbors that arrived late Friday and packing up early? How about the slow moving traffic from hospitality workers that cannot afford to live here?
“My wife and I still wake up each morning and think how wonderful it is to live in this amazing community,” Kampe said. “It continues to be this special place because so many work so hard to make it this way.”
“Taken together, current deferred spending plus looming cost increases tell us we need increased revenue,” said Kampe. “We now need to ask if we, as a community, are prepared to support essential and desired services that make our city such a privileged place to live.”
Kampe referred to Carmel, which has three times the revenue per capita, and Monterey, with double the revenue per capita, as references to just how well the city has managed with its limited finances.
Mayor Repeats The Old Substainable Song
Not enough input from opposition.
New rates will help cover the cost of fixing old pipelines that date back to the early 1900s. Pacific Grove residents will now see a 5 percent rate increase on their monthly sewer bill, totaling about $42 a month, and some residents in the area aren’t too happy.
The city said the sewage rate increase will bring in more than $800,000 over the next couple of years. City officials said the sewer fund is separate from the general fund and can only be used for sewer maintenance.
Higher Pay Per Flush Approved
Never mind the lack of maintenance and failing MRWPCA pump station. Pay Per Flush and Smart Sewer Meters can’t be far behind.
A discovery that the city had been overcharging customers for several years angered many and led to a grassroots effort to overturn a 10-year rate hike proposal, with 1,421 residents penning letters against the idea. But it wasn’t enough to stop the move — 3,051 responses were needed — and the City Council unanimously adopted the increases.
“We’re going to be able to move ahead,” said Pacific Grove Mayor Bill Kampe just after the responses were tallied.
The figure was not what the opposition had hoped for. The controversy arose after the city collected $600,000 in sewer fees over the last few years without issuing a required notice to ratepayers. During that time, the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency also raised its rates, which were linked to the city’s rate and added to homeowners’ bills.
Sewer Rate Increases