It was all a bad dream

Posted on July 5, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Three and four years ago at this time, the Sonoma City Council was scrambling to pass a budget, and had to resort to pulling money from its reserves to make up for deficits. Last year’s balanced budget was a welcome change. And this year’s $14.1 million plan (up about $900,000) was such a no-brainer that it sailed through the meeting in less time than it took to print the 90-page document. Life is good when tax revenue is up… So where’s all the green coming from to make it so nice on our side of the fence? Taxes, of course. Projected increases: sales tax, seven percent; TOT (hotel room tax), 15 percent; and 19 percent more than expected from Measure J, last year’s half-cent city sales tax hike. It added two cents to the cost of your mocha, but at least the councilmembers are sleeping better at night.

How cool, other than last weekend’s 90-degree temperatures, is a live Broadway revue in Jack London Park? When California State Parks went looking for innovative ideas to keep the parks open, it was thinking maybe Slurpee machines or mobile Indian casinos. Few could have foreseen the popularity and success of what the Transcendence Theatre Company came up with. See page 24 for upcoming shows.

Sonoma Councilmember Rob Wilson. How does that sound? The business owner (Old School Skate Shop) and good citizen (sponsor of the city’s skate park, etc.) will run for one of three seats in 2014. Word is, incumbents Tom Rouse and Steve Barbose will not seek reelection in that race, so the look of the council will change considerably. To include, perhaps, lots more tattoos.

About that banner year foreseen for hotel room sales — whose argument on the Hotel Limitation Measure does that bolster? Is the city OK with its current roster of rainmakers, give or take a few small hotels in the future? Or should there be (at least) one bigger hotel to get while the getting is good?.. One sidebar to the discussion, specific to developing a chunk of the 100 block of West Napa Street, is what else might be done on that property, if indeed it’s all about tax revenue. Sixteen or 20 more wine tasting rooms? Trader Joe’s, with an ice rink? The NIMBY Museum and Espresso Bar? KSVY’s Stevie Steele is calling for a New York-style pizza by the slice joint, but may need to think bigger. Send your ideas and snarky asides to: [email protected]