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Layton OKs sales-tax boost resolution

LAYTON — The City Council has passed a watered-down resolution on the quarter-cent sales tax initiative, but barely.

The council vote on Oct. 4 ended up 2-2, and Mayor Steve Curtis broke the deadlock by voting yes.

Slated to be on the ballot Nov. 6, the initiative would add 0.25 percent to the existing sales tax, money that would go toward critical transportation needs.

Councilwomen Joyce Brown and Kathy Hyde Smith had strong reservations about the original resolution seeming to suggest voters should support the tax.

Brown said it wasn't the city's job to promote the sales tax increase. That was the county's stance, since they put it on the ballot.

"As a governing board, we shouldn't tell them (the voters) how to vote.... We should leave it up to the citizens," she said. "Citizens can decided if they can afford the tax."

Smith agreed.

"I don't think we need the resolution," she said.

As a result, Layton City Manager Alex Jensen altered his original proposal to simply encourage voters to study the issues instead of implying any support for the sales tax increase.

"My intent was not to endorse it," Jensen said.

"Our citizens are looking to us for guidance and leadership," Councilman Steve Handy said. He believes the public either pays a little now on transportation needs or a lot later. He abstained from voting on the resolution, since he is working with the proponents of the sales tax initiative.

Councilmen Renny Knowlton and Michael Bouwhuis voted for the resolution, feeling the sales tax increase is critical, unless the public wants to wait in traffic.