San Diego

Supporters Want Sales Tax Increase in Lemon Grove on 2020 Ballot

If the tax increase for Lemon Grove lands on the 2020 ballot and is approved by voters, sales tax in that community would jump from 7.75 to 8.5 percent as part of an effort raise about $3 million a year for the general fund

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so some people in Lemon Grove are going door-to-door to push a sales tax increase they say will help dig the city out of financial trouble.

Firefighter Zach Loftis is among the firefighters and supporters who have been petitioning voters to get the three-quarter-cent sales tax increase on the March 2020 ballot.

If approved, the sales tax in Lemon Grove would jump from 7.75 to 8.5 percent and is expected to raise about $3 million a year for the general fund.

That money could be used for keeping the city clean, law enforcement and for a new fire engine and other repairs for the fire department, supporters said.

“We have self-contained breathing apparatuses that we’ve been using past 15 years and a lot of those need to be replaced,” said Loftis.

Lemon Grove has struggled financially for years. Reports indicate the city faces $400,000 deficit in 2020, which is one reason why resident Yadira Altamirano helped draft a measure that calls for annual city audits.

“This can help us maintain our independence and maintain our city so that we can have a better future for our children,” Altamirano said.

But Grove Grinder owner Sharon Jones said city hall needs to cook up a new proposal rather than more taxes.

“If they watch what they're spending and take care of what they need to take care of, we'll be fine,” Jones said.

City leaders have reportedly voiced their support for the plan.

The next petition drive is scheduled for this Saturday in the Sprouts parking lot.

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