News & Publications

Editorial: Talking About Chico Streets Is A Positive Step

"By EDITORIAL BOARD
June 21, 2018 at 11:48 pm

At first glance, an onlooker might consider a City Council action Tuesday as a loss for the Chico Chamber of Commerce, but that’s not the way it’s playing out.

Back in January, the chamber made a bold move by suggesting the city put a “revenue measure” on the ballot, a euphemism for a tax. It could be a sales tax hike or property tax increase. The chamber never specified, but ventured that the revenue could be used for public safety and roads, two hot-button issues with Chico residents.

This month, City Councilor Karl Ory  asked for that conversation to start. While it seems that Ory may have been championing the chamber, we don’t know what prompted him to take up the call at this point, months after the request. This was the council’s first public response to the chamber’s suggestion that we know of.

While some suggested it could be politics, Ory may have been looking at ways to stop the landslide to a financial disaster.

However, Ory’s request was shot down by conservative councilors, who could be assumed to be supportive of the voice of business.

We would like to have heard that discussion over a new tax, if nothing else to understand the path and implications. The city isn’t doing enough to address the problems with crime and roads.

Conservatives said they wanted to make sure any kind of tax went specifically to the earmark, and that wasn’t looking likely. Then there’s the pension wild card.

After the failed motion, conservative Councilor Mark Sorensen made another, this time which sailed through with unanimous support.

He suggested launching a discussion just about street maintenance funding in the council’s Finance Committee.

Monday, there was a little backpedaling by the chamber, which sent a letter to the council saying it might not be the right time to talk about a revenue measure.

What may have changed from January to June is a curious question, but likely there’s a connection to the upcoming election or what happens after it. Nevertheless, the chamber said it will continue to work with the city on funding ideas.

As a public voice that has pointed to the dismal condition of Chico streets, we think getting the council to talk about that specific issue is certainly a win for the chamber and for the community."

Click here to download the PDF copy of the above Chico Enterprise-Record.