During its meeting last night, the Town Council voted to hire a consultant to assist with an off-cycle ballot to raise taxes through some type of storm drain fees. The ballot will occur early in 2018 rather than during the regular November election cycle, incurring additional special election costs and the future consulting and legal fees it approved (along with the previous consulting fees already spent on SCI Consulting and Godbe Research to tee up the idea).
The unanimous 5-0 vote occurred after the Mayor expressed concerns about the wisdom and timing of seeking more resident money when 43% are unhappy with the direction the town is headed and are becoming increasingly vocal and "angry". The buzz on Moraga's local Nextdoor site seems to validate that perspective.
Because spending public money to advocate for tax or other ballot measures is illegal, there was a fair bit of discussion on how to ensure the success of the tax increase (besides the recent survey seeking the messaging "hot buttons" and hiring consultants to help) by organizing and encouraging citizen groups to independently advocate for the tax on the Town's behalf.
Help Request: If any of our neighbors would be interested in researching the prohibition on towns' ability to advocate for tax measures, but still being able to have consultants and residents do it for them, please Contact Us.
It looks to us like a gray area worth exploring.