Two months after Councilman Ken Gillanders introduced the idea of a moratorium on non-sales tax producing businesses, the City Council of Temple City finally enacted an emergency ordinance on non-retail businesses in Temple City. On Tuesday, April 1, 2008, Councilwoman Judy Wong joined Councilmembers Dave Capra, Ken Gilllanders, and Cathé Wilson in voting for adoption of the moratorium.
The moratorium on non-retail businesses affects properties on Las Tunas Drive between Sultana Avenue and Rowland Avenue. All incoming businesses must provide at least 50% of sales tax for its business services in order to move into Temple City. Existing businesses will not be affected by the moratorium; however, any new tenants will be subject to the rules established by the moratorium.
The government of Temple City operates on revenues generated by sales tax. With a decline in sales tax in recent years, City Manager and City Attorney Charles R. Martin has warned the City must act; otherwise, there may be a need for a utility tax.
In February 2008, Councilman Gillanders proposed the idea of a moratorium to stop non-sales tax producing businesses from occupying land that could be available to retail tenants.
A vote was subsequently taken, however, it failed, 3-2, despite receiving a majority of the Council’s approval. According to City Manager and City Attorney Charles R. Martin, the emergency moratorium required a supermajority, or four out of five council votes.
On April 1, Councilwoman Judy Wong switched her vote on the moratorium issue, allowing the measure to be enacted. Wong stated she voted for the moratorium because it was restricted to Las Tunas Drive as compared to the previous moratorium which would affect the entire city.
Councilman Fernando Vizcarra, who casted a dissenting vote thought the moratorium, was “a punishment.” Vizcarra also voted against an earlier measure of the emergency moratorium.
Councilmembers Capra, Gillanders, and Wilson noted the moratorium was a precautionary measure. All three voted for the moratorium the first time the City Council considered the idea.
There were several alternatives that could have been taken, including the City purchasing property on Las Tunas and renting it out to sales tax producing businesses, stricter code enforcement, or evaluation of home businesses.
The emergency moratorium was approved 4-1 and will take effect immediately. The moratorium will exist for forty-five days unless the City Council considers extending the ordinance.
This article was written by Randy Shun. It was published in the Temple City Voice on July 16, 2008.