Special Council Meeting Takes on Real Property Transfer Tax

Tonight’s council meeting of July 27, 2020 will take on a single topic; adding a real property transfer tax to the November ballot for voter approval. The reason? The upcoming financial crunch will force the city to into deeper budget cuts, and letting the voters decided is the way to go. 

The need for revenue has been considered from several angles, and unexpected challenges have met each one in turn. 

There was a moment earlier this year when the city was poised to raise business taxes, which have not been increased since the 1960’s. A study done by the Finance Advisory Committee held that it was a needed increase, and set out the details on how that should happen. 

Then, the pandemic hit, and then-Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells set the increase aside. “This is not the moment to raise the tax on our businesses as they are struggling through this crisis.” 

But the as the crisis continues, city hall must find a way to fund services. 

The half-cent sales tax that was set to expire got voter approval in 2018, but lack of sales translates to a lack of revenue from sales tax. 

Council member Alex Fisch, who has led the charge on the real estate transfer tax, said “Our long-term financial projections show that we need about $12 million/per year of new revenue within 2 years to preserve the city as it is.”

The real estate transfer tax is simple. It’s a one time fee paid by the seller on the sale of property. 

If that gets to the ballot, and is approved, it will be another hopeful attempt to shore up the pandemic stricken municipal budget. 

To participate or attend the meeting, go to CulverCity.org and then to Culver City Public Meetings for instructions on how to connect with Webinex. 

Judith Martin-Straw

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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