West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon is calling for a sales tax increase of a quarter-cent on the dollar to help finance a range of initiatives, from repairing roads to reducing homelessness and helping the city’s high school graduates attend community college.
Under Cabaldon’s proposal, the city would only increase the sales tax if an identical statewide tax expires as scheduled at the end of the year. The city sales tax hike would generate $3.4 million a year for the city, he said.
He hopes the city could use the funds as seed money to win larger grants for several projects, such as a modern riparian flood protection system that would create new open space, he said.
Cabaldon announced the tax proposal during his State of the City address in West Sacramento City Hall on Thursday night before more than 300 business and community leaders.
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On Friday, the mayor outlined his priority for the initiatives, which he will ask City Council members to discuss at a later meeting. He said some of the money would go toward repairing roads in the city.
Cabaldon said some money could go toward efforts to reduce homelessness by providing housing, services and a social service network coordinated with Yolo County. The effort would help address the needs of homeless people and the residents affected by their proximity to homeless populations.
“We’re trying to deal with the human side of homelessness in both dimensions,” he said.
He outlined a “West Sac Grand Slam 4 Kids” plan with several proposals that support youth from cradle to college, relying partly on the sales tax hike. In one segment, the city would seek to have every child “connected to quality preschool so they are ready to learn, ready for kindergarten.”
Another component would ensure that every high school student who pursues a college and career pathway will have a paid internship or similar experience. A grant program through the U.S. Conference of Mayors already has yielded two small grants totaling $180,000 for the effort. Cabaldon has talked to businesses regionally about participation.
He called for the city to ensure that every student in the city can pay for community college. Initially, he said, the program would pay for the first semester of attendance. Students would have to meet certain requirements, such as enrolling in an associate degree or transfer program.