MODESTO — Former Mayor Jim Ridenour is staying out of the debate on whether the Modesto City Council should put a 1 cent sales tax on the November ballot.
When reached today by phone, Ridenour said he had no opinion on the matter. He said after serving as mayor for eight years (until February 2012) he'd had enough and was trying not to get involved.
He did raise a couple of questions, though. He wondered what had happened to Mayor Garrad Marsh's initial proposal for a half-cent public safety tax and he wondered how the 1 cent tax would be spent.
Marsh has said he changed his mind on the tax proposal after realizing that a half-cent public safety tax would not address all of the city's budget problems with its general fund.
The city is developing priorities on how it would spent the 1 cent tax if it passes. Marsh wants half for public safety, a quarter for roads and the rest for other purposes.
The council is set to vote Tuesday night on whether to put the 1 cent tax on the Nov. 5 ballot. Marsh appears to have the necessary five of the seven council votes to get his proposal before the voters.
City officials say the tax would raise $26 million annually. That's $156 million over the tax's six-year life.