ANTIOCH -- Lacking the unanimous vote needed to call for a November election, city leaders Tuesday postponed a decision to move forward with a pair of tax measures aimed at boosting policing and code enforcement.

The City Council is considering a half-cent sales tax that would last seven years, be subject to a yearly independent audit and have a seven-member oversight committee of Antioch residents, along with annual fees for local landlords. The rental fee would be $240 a year, or $20 a month, for each unit up to 25 units. The sliding scale proposal would set the fee at $120 per unit for units 25 to 50, $75 for units 51 to 150, and $50 per unit for any over 150.

The council will now consider placing the items on the ballot at its June 25 meeting.

To call for an election in a year where no council member terms are up, the council must unanimously declare an "emergency" requiring a tax measure be considered sooner, City Attorney Lynn Tracy Nerland said in a staff report.

Councilman Gary Agopian was absent from Tuesday's meeting.

Though Antioch's general fund revenue has stabilized at about $34 million since falling from $47 million in 2007, its budget is currently projected to have a structural deficit of $3.6 million -- and that is before considering restoring any services.

It would cost about $7 million to get the Antioch Police Department back to its pre-recession level of 126 sworn officers along with a full complement of nonsworn officers and additional fees for vehicles and safety equipment.


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City estimates say a half-cent sales tax would likely raise about $4.7 million each year, while the landlord fees would bring in about $2 million.

The council did not speak to the tax items Tuesday, but have expressed their desire the past four months to place the measures on the ballot to bolster city services.

All four residents that spoke Tuesday were in opposition to both tax measures, saying they would place an unfair burden on city shoppers and renters already struggling to make ends meet.

A survey of 400 registered voters conducted for the city in April by EMC Research found that 68 percent of those polled would vote yes or lean toward a yes vote on the half-cent tax.

It will cost Antioch about $204,000 to put one measure on the ballot and an additional $15,000 for the second.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.