Press "Enter" to skip to content

In last-minute redo, Westminster council again fails to put tax measure on ballot

Just hours before the 5 p.m. deadline for submitting a ballot measure to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, the Westminster City Council met Friday, Aug. 7  for a redo of its peculiar meeting earlier in the week.

Mayor Tri Ta and Councilman Tai Do, known for butting heads, again joined forces to kill the tax proposal – with Ta abstaining and Do voting no on a watered-down effort that would have continued the 1% sales tax.

The measure required at least four “yeses” to qualify for the November ballot.

In 2016, Westminster voters approved the 1% sales tax scheduled to “sunset” Dec. 31, 2022. Without that money coming in, acting finance director Erin Backs said Friday, the city would be bankrupt by 2027.

The new resolution requested a 1.5% tax with no expiration date.

Monday’s meeting included long moments of uncomfortable silence when council members usually discuss the matters at hand.

At the start of Friday’s meeting, a dozen or so residents criticized the hastily called meetings, saying something so urgent should have been addressed months ago.

A few complained that Ta and Do did not explain their positions on Monday. One speaker deemed the mayor’s neutral stance a “cop out.”

“I abstained because I think we have another two years,” Ta responded.

Despite that cushion, City Attorney Dick Jones had previously said, the measure ideally should appear on the upcoming ballot. If approved in 2022, the new tax would not go into effect until April of 2023 – meaning a three-month gap and loss of revenue.

Saying the city desperately needed money, Councilwoman Kimberly Ho was the only advocate Friday for sticking with the staff recommendation of a 1.5% sales tax. However, none of her colleagues seconded her motion, which revised only the expiration date.

Councilman Charlie Nguyen made a motion to simply continue with the 1% sales tax, but it got no further than a similar motion that flopped Monday.

Then Councilman Sergio Contreras resubmitted Nguyen’s motion with slight revisions. It, too, was blocked by Ta and Do.

“The meeting is therefore adjourned,” Ta briskly announced.

When Contreras attempted one last try at another motion, Jones stopped him.

“Unfortunately, Mayor Ta has adjourned the meeting,” Jones said.

In an interview afterward, Do, who did not present his rationale at either meeting, said he opposed the tax partly because “people did not have time to digest it.”

“We received notice Sunday for a Monday meeting and Thursday for a Friday meeting,” said Do, a vocal critic of Ta. “If this issue is so important, it should have been brought to us months ago. It’s another example of failed leadership.”















Source: Orange County Register

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: