Wednesday morning report, June 29

Five things to know this Wednesday morning: 

1.) On a 4-1 vote, the City Council last night voted to place the proposed half-cent sales tax increase on November's general election ballot. 

"As a rule of thumb I'm tax adverse, but the difference here is local control," said Councilman Roger Brossmer. Mayor Alex Saab was the lone dissenter. 

"I've been debating this in my head for the longest time. It's something I take very seriously," said Councilman Sean Ashton. "The type of money we need is not there. We can't just tighten our belts to raise $6 million to fix our roads."

"I don't need studies to tell me that putting more officers on the street will reduce crime," said Police Chief Carl Charles, responding to a public safety question from Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Vasquez. "I don't think there's any doubt more police officers are needed in Downey. At some point do we reach a saturation point? Probably, but we're nowhere near that." 

City Manager Gilbert Livas said the city has studied the effects sales tax increases have had on small businesses, particularly in La Mirada, and was comfortable with the results. In La Mirada, voters approved a 1 percent sales tax increase in 2013.

Mayor Alex Saab said he "still had too many concerns to be able to support this." 

"The fact that [the additional revenue] goes to the general fund, that's what makes me nervous," he said. 


2.) The council also approved the $156.7 million fiscal budget. It's a balanced budget, although the council is pulling $500,000 from reserves to purchase license plate readers that will be placed at major entrances into the city, and another $450,000 for park improvements. 


3.) Sam and Beverly Mathis received the Mayor's Distinguished Citizens Award in recognition of their community service.


4.) Wesley Health Centers will celebrate its new Downey location with a ribbon-cutting at 9:30 a.m. today. 

L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe is the event's guest speaker. The health clinic is located at 8530 Firestone Blvd.


5.) Lt. Mark McDaniel of the Downey Police Department will be guest speaker at the Downey Chamber of Commerce's City Affairs meeting, starting at noon at Farmers & Merchant Bank.