The measure to tax the Amazon.com parcel nearly $50,000 the first year or more than $882 per acre, through a mechanism called a community facilities district, split the council 2-2. Mayor Luis Molina and Councilman Dominic Farinha voted to move forward with the plans, but Councilwomen Deborah Novelli and Sheree Lustgarten opposed the motion after nearly an hour of detailed discussion. Councilman Larry Buehner recused himself from the proceedings because he was once part owner of the land that was sold for development of the Amazon.com facility.
Novelli and Lustgarten said they needed more information and wanted to make sure the city was getting all of the money it needed to cover the costs of maintaining roads in the area.
Lustgarten stated she had repeatedly asked a solid number regarding the amount of truck traffic to be produced in west Patterson by the Amazon.com facility and a larger proposed logistics center next door, but had yet to receive it.
Novelli agreed, saying she needed more information before making a final decision.
“There’s not enough information in this packet,” she said. “There needs to be more.”
Novelli and Lustgarten both mentioned the poor conditions of Baldwin Road, which is just east of the industrial area in west Patterson. Baldwin Road, however, was not proposed to be in the district that was to be taxed.
City Manager Rod Butler urged the measures passage, saying a lot of staff time and effort had gone in to the proposal.
“We can’t solve 15 to 20 years of deferred maintenance overnight,” he said, saying he was confident in the work study that City Engineer Ken Irwin had put into the project and that the city would be recovering enough money for maintenance.
Paul Thimmig, an attorney that helped craft the proposal for the district, said that the property owners, US Real Estate were not pleased with the tax numbers, and that city staff members didn’t budge on the numbers.
Any increases in proposed taxes could end up in litigation, he said, for unfair taxation.
The matter was later re-opened and continued for further discussion at the regular city council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 3.
The community facilities district, once in place, would levy taxes on businesses in the Westridge Business Park and could be expanded to include future businesses as the council directs, Public Works Director Mike Willette told the council.
Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.