FORTUNA- A one-cent sales tax was up for debate Monday at a pro or con forum hosted by the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce.
The city's mayor pro tem and mayor represented the pro side of Measure V, while two residents advocated against the sales tax.
During the forum, city officials explained that the measure is necessary to maintain city services and ward off looming budget cuts. The city is currently functioning on a deficit that city officials say will only get worse if no action is taken.
“It all boils down to the idea that people here in Fortuna have to have confidence in Fortuna,” said Mayor Pro Tem Michael Losey. “This is a vote for the confidence of the citizens, of the businesses here in Fortuna, of government too. But it's really confidence that Fortuna will progress and move forward and not fall back”
Meanwhile during the discussion, opponents pointed out the city’s $5 million reserve and recent increase in spending on government employee benefits. They argued that the city’s economy is already improving with the creation of two new businesses in the past year and that the city should wait before imposing new taxes.
“I think it's unfair to the citizens of Fortuna to have this increase because every time they do something and want to buy some goods that have the sales tax, they're going to have an increased sales tax and if they bought a big item, like a car it would certainly put a large dent in their income,” said Fortuna resident Daniel Coleman. “So I think we need to be fair and not increase our sales tax.”