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Cerritos to Consider One Half-Cent Sales Tax Increase


Cerritos Mayor Jim Edwards reflects on upcoming Memorial Day Ceremony

By Brian Hews

The Cerritos City Council will consider, at next Monday’s May 2 City Council meeting, placing a measure on the March 7, 2017 ballot that would ask residents for approval of a one half cent sales tax increase.

If approved and passed, the measure is anticipated to generate $15 million in additional revenue for the city.

The funds would be used in part to pay for sheriff and Public Safety services and to facilitate much-needed infrastructure maintenance projects.

Cerritos City Manager Art Gallucci

Cerritos City Manager Art Gallucci.

City Manager Art Gallucci cited many reasons for the consideration of the sales tax increase, with the dissolution of redevelopment at the top of the list.

The dissolution is costing the City over $4 million annually in assumed redevelopment employee costs and $800,000 annually to operate the Magnolia Power Plant.

The City has also made over $26 million in payments to State since the dissolution of the redevelopment agency.

In addition, Sheriff and Public Safety services have increased over $2 million since 2008-’09.

In light of the cost increases, the City has taken significant steps to reduce its operating budget, with the proposed 2016-2017 budget lower than the 2008-’09 pre-recession budget.

As part of that cost saving effort, the City has not filled a total of 18 management and 40 non-management positions that have been vacated through attrition resulting in an annual savings of $6.4 million, and over the past four years city staff has received a miniscule 2% wage increase.




Despite the cost cutting efforts, the City has been forced to take $22 million from its reserve funds with current level at $58 million, compared to $80 million in 2009.

And it will only get worse, with the current 2016-17 budget projected to have a deficit of $5.5 million.

The City, which in a no/low property tax city, could consider a property tax or a user/utility tax increase but that would, “significantly impact Cerritos residents.”

A property tax increase to generate $15 million would cost every Cerritos resident $645 per year; a user/utility tax that would generate $8.7 million would cost $545 per year.

The likelihood of the increased property tax or user utility tax measure passing would be slim given the recent defeat of Measure AA for the ABCUSD which would have cost only $160 per year for each resident.

A one half-cent increase in sales tax would “add 50 cents to each $100 purchase,” according to Gallucci’s report, “and have a minimal impact on the residents of Cerritos.”

In order to place the measure on the ballot, the City Council must give Cerritos staff permission to move forward with consideration at the October 10, 2016 meeting.

Cerritos will then conduct a public information/education program that is estimated to cost $15,000.

If the measure is approved by Cerritos residents, the city will then submit final documentation of the State Board of Equalization and it is estimated that it would take approximately 90 days following the election for the tax to be implemented.

Cerritos Mayor Ray told HMG-CN, “The City of Cerritos has faced numerous economic challenges since the onset of the Great Recession in 2008 and the dissolution of redevelopment beginning in 2011. To ensure that the City does everything it can to maintain the high quality of life and superlative services to which our residents and community are accustom, the City is asking voters to review and consider this one-half cent sales tax increase. The funds would be used in part to pay for sheriff and public safety services and much needed infrastructure maintenance projects. This will be presented for adoption later this spring.”

  • Holloday says:

    Bad idea. Sales tax in Orange County, just a couple miles away from Cerritos, is 1% cheaper, and now if this city of Cerritos ordinance passes, it would be 1.5% cheaper to purchase Goods in Orange County. Many people are already buying big-ticket items in Orange County, just an average automobile sale at $20,000, that adds up big time by crossing the county line and purchasing in Orange County.

    Cerritos residents will shop more in Cypress, La Palma, and Rossmoor, all cities which have 1% cheaper sales tax.

    Look at all of the hi end car- RV Sales sales, sales contract are out of Oregon, where there is no sales and flat small DMV fees, once every 2 yrs.

    Thss reads like the split between England and USA, residents of England were tired of hi taxes, so left England and created colonies in USA, hence broke off from mother country of England.

  • Jay Beeler says:

    Auto sales taxes are charged according to the buyer’s city of residence tax rate, not the seller’s city for conducting business.

    • Holloday says:

      We have our DMV Lic in other counties, such as employer and Oregon many buyers use Oregon Post Office Box w/ numerical address plus have dual DMV Registration.

      Since City of Irvine is the main city for Cerritos Residents for Jobs, residents have Irvine address on DMV, so purchase cars in Orange Co, cheaper tax rate by 1% . Work force job landscape has been city of Irvine for many decades. Jobs work force has boycotted city of Cerritos, not enough diversity for employment.

  • Houston says:

    City of La Palma may enact a tax also.

    City of Pico Rivera has increased sales tax, and the tax has chased a lot of buyers down into the Cerritos shopping centers, it’s cheaper to shopCerritos , compared to in Pico Rivera.

    Also city of Downey may adopt a tax also.

    Some of the finest homes in Orange County can be found in Villa Park, where they have almost no sales tax basis, and also home to Lowest tax rate in Orange County.

    Why can’t Cities survive on the income they have currently, and stop all of these municipal social events? Let’s face it one of these days, the police force are going to bankrupt cities, it’s better to reduce the police force today, then lose the police force all together.

  • Mall Buyer says:

    The city had approximately 600+ employees. Stop all of the babysitting sponsored classes, sport classes, Memorial Day weekend specials, Fourth of July specials, Halloween specials, and spring festivals, and then see if we can get rid of some of these employees. These PR programs are bleeding staff time from projects.

    The city is top-heavy of employees, there’s only 15,000 homes, which totals out a 50,000 residents. Why do we need that many employees?

    City’s going to have to learn to live with less. Get rid of the overnight parking ordinance that’ll save a lot of money, get rid of the street cleaning Dragnet, that will save money for staffing.

    Water department has too many employees earning over >$200K yr.

    Director Community Safety and 3 Sheriff captains is too much. Why do you need a mapping personnel for GPS and unload 3 city managers and stop CCC from getting perks and perks to grave.

    The city is just got their business into too many issues, it does not know how to woke lean and inefficiently.

    Go out to bid for city clerk and city attorney, both are making too much money. Each department director is costing the budget $180K yr, stop that and make employees work 35 yrs and no prorating of early retirement packages, like we have seen in code enforcement: 4 jumping ship to collect on early retirement packages, paid for by taxpayers.

    Close down jail, serious offenders can be bused to LA County Central, jail scene is not financially feasible anymore.

    Make both Regional Shopping Centers, employee own policing and residents should not have to pay bill to police their malls and parking lots.

    Stop car employee re reimbursement and stop cell phone buyouts.

  • Shad Park says:

    Currently, 90703 we are paying for a Mello-Roos school bond contracts for the ABC School District plus Cerritos Junior College District. Both are nanny Mello Roos tax loop holes.

    Shadow Park is paying a Mello-Roos tax for property improvements.

    ABC School District wants an additional Mello Roos School Bond tax.

    The Northern Industrial Park in Cerritos is already paying a light post tax.

    Cerritos Public Works is taxing us judgment for tree trimming or removal to city owned trees. CPW wants us to pay for City Block wall repairs, after they passed city ownership from the city to property voters

    In addition, homeowners have to pay ABC School District a building tax, if they add on more than 900 square feet to their house. When is all of this going to stop, Cerritos is not the best place to live.

    This is only going to force people to move out of the city, and move to cheaper cities in Lakewood, Cypress, La Palma where they can enjoy the benefits of Cerritos, but a cheaper price.

    Lets not forget, 3% tax to businesses for art sculpture in public places.

    ……………all Im reading, tax tax tax

  • Benoj says:

    I don’t have a problem with the City exploring all avenues for new revenue. But make sure you have a good story about why you need more money before you put it to the voters. Don’t use the tag line that it’s for sheriff and public safety just so people think it’s important. And please don’t use an empty statement like ” much-needed infrastructure maintenance projects.” We saw what happened when ABCUSD tried this. and ABC is the Pride & Joy of the city.
    If you need more money to balance the budget, why don’t you put the city budget before the people and let them decide which expenditures they would be willing to cut to balance the budget rather than raising taxes.

  • Retired says:


    Foto of Cerritos City Manager Art Gallucci, please leave, you have stayed on too long, managers should not be working past 45 Yrs of service. You have divided the city many times, this is another attack on dividing the city.

    Any/ new property taxes or sales tax, will drive out the original property owners, which built up the city in 60’s-70’s, retirees on fixed or limited income. New taxes is great for the new wealthy immigrants moving in to area, but sucks for all of us living in many affordable income projects. Big ticket items like furniture, moved in to OC, cheaper sales tax, this new proposed taxes will chase out more businesses and property owners.

    Many elected in to city, ran campaigns on NO NEW TAXES.

    Thumbs down on like button for city.

    Voters, just say: NO NO NO NO.

  • Dutchmill says:

    Another brainstorm idea by (4) Republican Council persons. They’re just going to get more money out of us in order to dump back into the Cerritos Performing Arts Center, along with the two sister cities, PPO Insurance to grave for council and their spouses, and feed that stupid overnight parking ordinance which is bleeding the city of almost $.5m.

    Governor Brown has been after the states 400 cities to consolidate if this city is this destitute for money. Cerritosshould annex Artesia , East Lakewood or Hawaiian Gardens and try to unite. Artesia and Hawaiian Gardens are just too small cities to exist, and the city of Cerritos should think about annexing. Artesia is almost an island sitting inside of Cerritos, so makes sense.

    Knew this was coming, when council voted for water increase and bed tax on the Sheraton Hotel.

    What next, tax for pooping or toilet tax, plus more DMV for owning cars in Cerritos?

  • Artist says:

    Stop spending staff time on billable hours for non-profit organizations such as the military groups, and all of the photo meets during the year. Staff is spending too much hours keeping the calendars for the council persons .

    Stop throwing good money away at the Chamber of Commerce. CCPA Friends group went bankrupt, how many other groups will follow same?

  • April 15 is everyday in Cerritos says:

    • Councilman Chen and Barrows fought so hard against ABC School Bond and ever since the Cerritos city council seems to be on the road to raising one fee and tax after the other.

    • Cerritos council says no money for education as they put their hands in your pocket to pay for their lifetime health insurance, while residents enjoy Obama Care and Medicare.

    • Cerritos council says no money for education as they put their hands in your pocket to pay for the Performing Arts Theater, which btw – council members get free tickets!

    • Cerritos council says no money for education as they put their hands in your pocket to pay for the power plant, which supplies discounted power rates to business and NOT residents.

    • Cerritos council says no money for education as then put their hands in your pocket to give millions for shipping center remodel.

    • Cerritos council says no money for education as then put their hands in your pocket to pay for travel to China and free food for Fat council members.

    • Cerritos council must be laughing at how dumb residents are.

    Don’t cities generally usually raise sales tax as the result of fiscal mismanagement or criminal activity?

  • Gridley says:


    MONDAY – MAY 2, 2016 – CITY HALL – 07:00 P.M.

    AGENDA MATERIALS: Reports and materials related to items on this Agenda are available for public inspection at the City Clerk’s Office, Cerritos City Hall, 18125 Bloomfield Avenue, Cerritos, CA 90703, during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, Telephone (562) 916-1248. Materials submitted to the City Council/Successor Agency after distribution of the agenda packet are available for public inspection in the City Clerk’s Office at the above address during normal business hours as noted.

    PUBLIC COMMENTS: Public comments will be allowed on all Agenda items at the time each matter comes up for discussion. Please complete and submit a blue Speaker’s Card to ensure that you are recognized when the Agenda item is considered. The public comments portion of the meeting will not exceed 45 minutes, and no speaker will be allowed more than five minutes, unless determined appropriate by the Chair. To assist in the preparation of appropriate responses, persons are requested to state their name and city of residence for the record.

    PUBLIC HEARINGS: Public hearings will be conducted in the order indicated on the agenda, unless otherwise directed. Please complete and submit a blue Speaker’s Card if you wish to present testimony. Conduct of public hearings will occur in substantially the following sequence: the item to be heard is announced, public hearing is opened, and report of written correspondence and staff report are received. Verbal testimony will occur in the following order: those in favor of the application/item, those opposed, interested parties, rebuttal by applicant. Speakers are requested to state their name and city of residence for the record. After verbal testimony, the public hearing is closed and the matter is deliberated with a determination being made or a continuation of the public hearing.

    1. Call to Order

    2. Pledge of Allegiance

    3. Roll Call

    4. Public Comments and Suggestions

    5. New and Old Business

    5A. Review of the Combined Financial Program for the City of Cerritos and the City of Cerritos as Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 Discussion and consideration of City revenue generating options (COUNCIL/SUCCESSOR AGENCY)

    Agenda Report

    6. Adjournment

  • Upset Senior says:

    This is another slap in the face to seniors who voted for Edwards and Ray. You are trying to force us to sale with the cost of your overly burdensome property rules and your increases in water rates. Plus, the franchise fee you take from seniors on the cable bill. Shame on you.

    Seniors are on a fixed income. We don’t have the luxury of taking from tax payers to pay for our meals and our travel. Nor do we get a car or phone allowance like you do.

    Shame on you all!

    Never again Edwards and Ray. I will campaign against both of you in the next election.

    • The Greatest Generation says:

      You’ve heard of ethnic cleansing. Welcome to Senior Cleansing.

      Of course the city wants you old times to sell your homes. You pay next to nothing in property tax so, when the city gets their share they get peanuts. The city needs to turn over the housing stock to new buyers at premium prices.

      New buyers pay 5x-8x more in property tax than long term residents. A.K.A. seniors.

      New buyers are not on fixed incomes so, they will spend more at the auto mall, the shopping centers, and the entertainment and food establishments, too.

      Cities like Cerritos see fixed income seniors as disposable and young professionals as their piggy bank.

      If you can’t afford to support the reckless spending habits of the city then you need to move out so, someone who can afford to can.

  • Ice Cream says:

    Where is the city’s transparency on this subject?

    I sat down to watch the special study session on the budget, the TV monitor stated that it was not going to be broadcasted, what kind of government is this, it reminds me of the same stinking mess coming out of the City of Bell corruption .

    Is Cerritos the new Bell?

  • Cemetery Bound says:

    This city is top-heavy with too many or too many social programs.

    Just check out the senior center, the swimming pool, and Liberty Park, Kiddy Library, there’s way too many social programs. Said social programs are draining money from the public works. There are too many directors employed by the city, they’re all earning $200,000 a year, and why do we need three city managers ?

    90703 City council has reduced the travel, but still traveling excessively compared to the surrounding cities which do not travel at all. This city is not the rich house wives of Orange County anymore, let’s face it, the recession is still lingering on, so the city hall needs to cut back, and not rob the bank of the individual homeowners who founded the city in the 1960s-1980s.

    Welllllllllllllllll, The immigrants who are coming here have an entirely different income bracket, compared to the original Settlers of the community, which developed the city.

  • CPA says:

    Why wasnt the study session on the budget and rate increase, televised on TV or stored on city web site under videos? Every elections, we are forced fed with 100% transparency.

  • Motel 6 says:

    Cerritos Sheraton has a new bed tax. Now it is only 90% full. It would have been better off with no sales tax, and had 100% occupancy.

    Now the Cerritos Sheraton has sold the hotel to Chinese, which will be under construction for the next three years, losing more and more money. The Cerritos Sheraton is a rat hole, it has not been kept up to par per the industry standards, and furthermore, being under construction for the next three ( 3) years, will injure the CCPA guest/ performers housing needs.

    This HOTEL bed tax now will bite the city council . TAXES never helps CITY. The public will always avoid TAXES and go to another area.

    Cerritos Voters said no to ABC Mello Roos School Bond, will say no to additional property taxes for eternity. Taxes will only feed aggressive city unions and republicans traveling -perks to graveside.

    Maybe a special targeted Mello Roos Bond could be voted in for Public Work Repairs and Improvements, but not for personnel and unions.

  • Yellow Submarine says:

    Stop spending staff hours, to research n develop nanny ordinances from A-Z and outside of the spectrum.

    City has way too many nanny ordinances, chasing a lot of people out of the city, costing the residents millions of dollars each year to police these from the general fund. If the city is going to be diversified, dont need mountain of ordinances, city is not Home Owners Association.

    Cost is in the millions to employ Code Enforcement, Court Costs and Sheriffs to implement.

    Part time Sheriff Helicopter is another mobile nanny ordinance, costing over $250K yr, plus the decaying RV Sheriff Van, rusting away at $300K.

    Surrounding cities do not have the Nanny Bible and look better, less turnover and balanced budget, without having the 3 mall to support the annual budget.

    Stop the Memorial Day Celebration, another $15K nothing.
    Stop the 4th July Celebration and non televised Let Freedom
    Ring Committee, another $70K nothing.
    Stop the Halloween Haunt, another $20K nothing.
    Stop the Spring Festival, another $45K nothing.

    Do math, calculations of the above nothings, only attracts residents from outlining cities, to invade Cerritos. In return, money is being used from the depleted General Funds and residents are being denied Public Works Budgets. Over decade, the General Funds are not growing, but shrinking cause of abuse of Nanny Ordinances, Travel Perks, Med. Ins to grave and Nothing events.

  • White Freightliner says:

    Why can’t the city of Cerritos be-thrifty?

    Why did code enforcement for issuing parking permits citations, have to purchase a brand new 4×4 Jeep convertible?

    Why does the (2) code enforcement agencies have to purchase gas guzzling full-size Chevrolet pickup trucks ?

    Why does the city manager have to drive a brand new black Mercedes Benz?

    How come the retired accountant staffer for the city of Cerritos was compensated a $300,000 bonus to retire early?

    How come the city manager’s/ assisted city manager residence City, where both resides, Seal Beach / Sunset Beach, aborted the overnight parking ordinance, when the city of Cerritos is issuing a couple of hundred overnight parking permits per day, and over 30,000 citations per year ?

    Why do we need parking citations for street sweeping?

    Why does the city re-hire back, retired staff personnel; when there is plenty of unemployed personnel in the immediate region?

  • Warmington Encore HOA says:

    May 2016, Budget Study Session, residents screamed out; Cerritos must have a FIRE SALE. Liquidate properties:

    • Vacant multiple 166th Street warehouses;
    • Vacant Hotel pad/ Studebaker;
    • Sell off pads at the Cerritos Towne Center- Auto Mall:
    • Lease out CCPA;
    • Partially vacant Lincoln Town Center;
    • Vacate the proposed $3M Museum – plus subcontract the $400K maintenance operation.
    • Liquidate Cerritos Sheriff Station and return to Lakewood Sheriff umbrella.
    • Abandoned early retirements for staffers and stop councils perk of Medical Insurance to graves.

    Residents screamed, city has a lot of unused property, not collecting rents, then purchases a $3M museum, and then has the nerve to ask for increase in property taxes & sales tax. The city is in the business to manage the city, not become landlords.

    Whisper in audience, Cerritos shoppers will run to Rossmoor Center and Buena Park Mall, to cash out on 8% Sale Tax Bargains.

    Bloated Republican Mayor George Ray, “Staffers must redo the budget by $5M.” Calculates less money for failing 60 YO–PUBLIC WORK PROJECTS, which are growing faster with decay, then shrinking.