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Mayor Replies to Complaint on Tax

August 29, 1985

Mrs. Murphy (Letters, Aug. 25) claims that El Segundo was seriously hurt by the recent increase in the business license tax (head tax).

The city is being seriously hurt by local companies who are demanding more services than we can provide and who are complaining about paying their fair share of the cost.

Our residents complain because our recreational facilities are being overrun. Our leadership in sports is threatened because the children have difficulty in getting to use the ball fields and other facilities. Seniors can no longer shop in town because retail merchants are being chased out by fast-food restaurants. Others complain that we are being held hostage as a result of the traffic gridlock. Our quality of life is being seriously damaged in El Segundo.

Murphy claims that four members of the council voted without any obvious consideration of the 33 people who spoke from the floor representing industry, small business and interested citizens. Interested citizens served on the Economic Base Study Committee, and interested citizens attended the budget study sessions for the past three years when the problems were discussed.

Representatives of major industry and the Chamber of Commerce met with staff and endorsed the plan, with one exception. The "big eight" industries agreed to the head tax but wanted to delete the floor tax.

Mrs. Murphy asks if the money was really needed. In a letter to the community I pointed to $36 million worth of capital improvements we need. Some of these have been put off since 1981.

Among the improvements needed are about $7 million in fire and life-safety projects. Interested citizens and representatives of industry served on the Fire/Life Safety Committee and told us these improvements were essential. The chairman of the committee was a Hughes Co. employee.

The question was asked, "Was there any other way to raise the money?" Certainly there are other ways. Chamber of Commerce representatives and officers of the Citizens for El Segundo's Future have advocated taxing the residents. One resident has proposed a barrel tax on Chevron Inc. Others have proposed a utility tax such as the one in Torrance, or even a gross revenue tax.

I am told that there are initiatives being prepared to submit some of the alternatives to the voters. If and when they are brought before us, I'm sure the City Council would be happy to give them serious consideration.

CHARLES (CHIP)

ARMSTRONG

Mayor, El Segundo

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