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Council: No reply to letter asking VC cities to address Prop. 172 allocation

September 28, 2001
Santa Paula News

Ventura County cities have not offered any support to Santa Paula in its move to collectively pursue statewide changes in the funding allocation for Prop. 172 funds for public safety, the City Council heard at the Sept. 4 meeting.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesVentura County cities have not offered any support to Santa Paula in its move to collectively pursue statewide changes in the funding allocation for Prop. 172 funds for public safety, the City Council heard at the Sept. 4 meeting.Police Chief Bob Gonzales said he was seeking further direction on the matter, which could allocate more of the special sales tax on a more equitable basis; Ventura County sheriff and other law enforcement services receive the lion?s share of the sales tax, about $50 million - around 96 percent of the total - this year alone while Santa Paula?s share hovered at about $170,000 last year.A letter signed by Mayor Don Johnson was sent to the county?s ten cities in March requesting representatives to sit down and discuss the issue before tackling it on the state level.Vice Mayor Ray Luna asked exactly who the letters were addressed to and if they were followed up by a phone call: ?We need to know why they?re not responding,? he noted.
City Manager Peter Cosentini said he assumed the letters were sent to city mayors. ?I gave my colleagues in the county a heads up that this was coming, and they gave me a heads up that probably nothing would be coming back. The no response is no surprise to me given what my colleagues shared with me. . .the silence is truly intended, I heard a resounding no on this issue.?Councilwoman Laura Flores Espinosa said the letters were probably not shared with the full councils of other cities, which would explain the lack of response.Such a lack is probably due more to the fact that many of the cities contract with the sheriff?s department for police services, which ?doesn?t bode well for us, they?re in bed with them. . .? said Cosentini.The only solution is on the state level, said Councilman Rick Cook, who said the allocation of the Prop. 172 revenues is unfair.Voters - who overwhelmingly approved the 1/2 cent sales tax - were fooled, Cook added. ?Everyone who voted for this came from the cities and the counties benefited from it. . .we thought we would benefit from it.?