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A man walks toward the City Council chambers at Redondo Beach City Hall in this file photo taken in 2016.

The Redondo Beach City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 3, will consider placing a measure on the March ballot asking whether the city should increase its sales tax by 0.75 cents, bringing in potentially $8 million annually.

If the council decides to call for a special local election, voters will have to decide on March 3 whether to support a half-cent sales tax increase that would go into effect in July and would bring in about $5.3 million annually. The measure would also allow an additional quarter-cent tax hike if another governmental agency with taxing powers in Redondo Beach puts a levy on the ballot, according to a draft of the proposed city measure drawn up ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.

That extra quarter cent would collect another $2.7 million, according to city documents.

Under state law, cities can impose “transactions and use taxes,” more commonly known as sales taxes. But those taxes, along with state, county and other local sales taxes, cannot collectively exceed 10.25%. Redondo is currently at 9.5%.

The concern, stated by various councilmembers in October, is the state or county could impose those taxes and prevent the city from collecting that revenue.

“If we don’t keep it local,” Councilmember Laura Emdee said at an October council meeting, “the county is going to come in and take it.”

The special election would occur during the state’s 2020 presidential primary.

Redondo’s next local election is uncertain, because the city has challenged a state law requiring it change its election dates to align with California’s primary and general elections. Because of that, the city must declare an emergency in order to hold the special election in March.

Arguments for or against the measure, which would be distributed among voters, would have to be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office no later than 5:30 p.m. Dec. 23.

The tax increase would go toward essential general municipal services, and to improve streets, parks and facilities. Redondo Beach has faced financial challenges in recent years, forcing it to implement significant staffing reductions at City Hall. Those cuts, in turn, has made it increasingly difficult to maintain a high level of city services, according to a staff report.

In L.A. County, 37 cities have already implemented a sales tax, with 11 of those doing so after the November 2018 election, according to the staff report; 52 cities and counties in California approved a similar increase in 2018, according to an October staff report.

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