Jesse B. Gill, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/21/2010 01:05:07 PM PDT

Redlands voters will have the final say in November on a half-cent sales tax measure the City Council is counting on to help balance the 2010-11 fiscal year budget.

The council voted 4-1 to place the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot. Councilman Mick Gallagher was the lone dissenter. The tax measure needed four of the five council members to approve it to place it on the ballot.

“It seems to me that if people in Redlands value the services that we have and the quality of town that we have here, that this is a reasonable proposal to help toward that while we continue to get the ship turned around,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Bean.

The city’s budget for the current fiscal year includes $462,000 in assumed revenue from the measure. If voters don’t pass it in November, the City Council will have to find other ways to come up with that money or cut it from the budget.

Members of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots chastised the council for uncontrolled spending and cited a lack of fiscal responsibility as the reason for the new tax. Every member of the council acknowledged that more budget cuts will be necessary to solve the budget’s structural issues.

“I know we can cut more. We have to cut more,” said Mayor Pat Gilbreath.

Bean called the tax a way to give the council “breathing room” – or a way to provide city service in the short term while it deals with the city’s long-term budget problems.

Gilbreath – who pledged not to support any new taxes as an Assembly candidate – supported the motion to allow voters to weigh in on the new local tax. She said she would not support the tax personally.

“I’m not supporting the tax, but I support voters making the decision,” she said.

Gallagher said he would not support the decision to allow voters to decide the fate of the tax because the revenue it would generate would not be designated for any fixed city service or purpose.

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