Come April 1, Union City will have one of the highest sales tax rates in the state.
According to the California State Board of Equalization, Union City is one of 13 cities across California with voter-approved sales tax increases starting next month.
In November, , a temporary half-cent sales tax increase that set Union City’s new rate at 10.25 percent. The measure was approved with a 60 percent vote and will expire four years from the starting collection date.
"I think it speaks highly for Union City voters," Mayor Mark Green told Union City Patch after the election. "I think the citizens realized that Union City has been tightly run for a number of years. The city voters saw that the sacrifice is worth it."
The higher tax will account for a 50-cent increase in the cost of a $100 item. It is expected to generate $3.5 million annually for the city’s general fund, according to city officials. The new revenue will help restore city services that were cut in the last two years, Administrative Services Director Richard Digre said.
In January, the city council approved budget restorations (based on projections) for $660,189 worth of services that were previously eliminated. Among the rescinded positions that were restored are a full-time police officer, a Public Works engineer, an associate planner in the Economic and Community Development Department and a recreation supervisor for the Senior Center, according to a staff report.
The new revenues would also restore library hours and pay for consultation services for the city.
“We went to each department and said: ‘Of all your cuts, what do you think is most important?’” Digre said.
Next year, city staff will look at the remaining budget funds and again review which positions and services need to be restored.
The new tax puts Union City among several California cities breaking the 10 percent sales tax threshold.
El Cerrito will be the only other Bay Area city with the same tax rate as Union City. In Los Angeles County, the cities of El Monte and Santa Monica approved tax increases to 10.25 percent. However, the highest current tax rates remain in Pico Rivera and South Gate, both in Los Angeles County, which have sales and use tax rates of 10.75 percent, according to the Board of Equalization.
In the Bay Area, sales tax rates will also rise in San Leandro, Concord, El Cerrito, Novato and Santa Rosa.
However, sales tax rates may drop by 1 percent in July if Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to place a 2009 sales tax extension on a June special election isn’t approved by state legislature and voters.
For a full list of tax increases in the state, see the document above.