The Hermosa Beach City Council has tentatively decided to ask voters to require that revenues from the utility tax increase approved last November be used to help buy the Santa Fe Railway right of way and that part of the tax be retired after the purchase.
In November, 53% of the voters approved increasing the tax from 6% to 10% for an indefinite period after council members promised that the $666,000 generated each year would be used to help buy the right of way.
However, the measure was put on the ballot as a "general tax," which needs only majority approval, because council members wanted to improve its chances. That means that the money goes into the city's general fund, and there is no legal requirement for it to be spent on the right of way.
To guarantee that all the revenues would go to purchase the right of way, the tax would have to be a "special tax," which requires two-thirds approval.
The council tentatively agreed, 5 to 0, to put such a measure on the June 7 ballot and is expected to pass a resolution Feb. 23 actually placing it on the ballot.