On a unanimous 5-0 vote this past Tuesday night, the Antioch City Council placed an eight-year, half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot. This is on top of votes to increase our water, sewer and garbage rates this year.
While the City Council says it’s for police and potholes, the funds will go into the General Fund and can be spent on whatever the council chooses.
But that’s not the worst part. Council members said they based their decision to support the ballot measure on a secret survey that cost $20,000 and was paid for by some businesses, including the city’s garbage collector, Allied Waste. Worse, yet, they not only hadn’t seen the questions included in the survey; they hadn’t even seen the results before they voted. They only heard the results from the city manager.
Plus, they wouldn’t share the survey or the results with the public prior to their vote, even after numerous requests.
Have they forgotten whose government it is, whose money it is they’re spending and who they were elected to serve? Remember “we the people”?
The council has no right to act in secret on something they have no legal right to keep private. State law allows only for personnel and real estate matters be dealt with privately.
Fortunately, the vote must be finalized at the July 27 meeting. I asked the mayor to release the survey and the results, to which he said “OK.” Hopefully that happens before then.
Allen Payton, Antioch