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November election looms: Two county tax measures on ballot

Debra Moore
Staff Writer
10/2/2012

 

  Plumas County voters will decide Nov. 6 if they want to pay more sales tax and charge tourists a higher bed tax.

  While voters in Portola will choose three City Council members, Lake Almanor area residents will be asked to select two directors for the Seneca Healthcare District.

  The local decisions will be featured on the ballot along with state measures and candidates, as well as the races for president, U.S. Senate and

Election dates at a glance
 
Oct. 9
Vote-by-mail ballots mailed*
 
Oct. 22
Last day to register to vote
Last day to change your address
 
Nov. 6
Election Day
 
*If you have not received your ballot by Oct. 19, visit the Plumas County Elections Office in the courthouse or call 283-6256 or 283-6129.

Congress.

  The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 22.

  Marcy DeMartile, the county’s election coordinator, said that it’s important to ensure that you are registered by that date, and, if you have moved, to register your new address.

  “More than 55 percent of our voters use mail-in ballots,” DeMartile said. “If they are a vote-by-mail voter and don’t have a ballot by Oct. 19, they need to contact this office.”

  The Elections Office is located on the first floor of the courthouse in Quincy or may be reached at 283-6256 or 283-6129.

  DeMartile said the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t forward election materials, so it’s important to file a change of address and to contact her office as soon as possible if a ballot has not been received. The vote-by-mail ballots will be sent to voters Oct. 9.

  Polling centers will be set up at the Portola Veterans Hall, Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds in Quincy, the Greenville Town Hall and the Chester Memorial Hall.

 

Local tax increases

  Whether they vote by mail or in person, Plumas County voters must choose whether to pass Measure C and Measure D.

  The Board of Supervisors put both measures on the ballot in an effort to raise more revenue for the county. Both are short-term taxes, due to go into effect Jan. 1, 2013, and be automatically repealed Jan. 1, 2017.

  Measure C, the temporary modification of the transient occupancy tax rate (bed tax), would increase the rate from its current 9 percent to a new rate of 11 percent.

  Measure D would raise the local sales tax from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent.

  Board Chairman Robert Meacher said that both measures combined would bring nearly $1 million annually to the county, though the benefits won’t be fully felt until the next fiscal year.

  “It will be a huge help for next year’s budget,” Meacher said during an interview last week, explaining that because of the state’s timeframe for collecting taxes, limited TOT tax will be collected and distributed after the first quarter, but the sales tax won’t be realized until after June 30.

  Of the roughly $1 million anticipated annually, it’s estimated that $700,000-plus will be realized from the sales tax, and $200,000-plus from the TOT.

  Meacher said that many jurisdictions have added sales tax and he hopes local voters will approve the measure to ensure that the county can continue to provide vital services. He also thinks it’s a fair tax.

  “We all have to pay the sales tax,” Meacher said of both residents and tourists.

 

Local races

  Portola voters will choose three City Council members from a pool of four hopefuls:

  —Phil Oels, an incumbent who took office earlier this year when Dan Wilson was recalled.

  —William Weaver, an incumbent, who was first elected in 2000.

  —John Larrieu, an incumbent, who has served since 2002.

  —Michelle Gault, a restaurant manager who is challenging the three current councilmen.

  Insurance agent Christine Pearson is running unopposed for city treasurer.

  Residents of the Seneca Healthcare District will choose two directors from a pool of three candidates: incumbents David Slusher and Ronald Longacre, and challenger and retired forester Bill Howe.

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