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Dozens of Lemon Grove residents assembled inside the city's community center for Lemon Grove City Council's March 9 meeting. On the docket for the night was the City's $987,000 budget shortfall and whether the council supports holding a June 8 special election so voters could decide if raising the sales tax by a half cent and increasing the hotel tax by four percent was a good strategy to bring needed revenues to the City's general fund.

Lemon Grove city manager Graham Mitchell introduced the agenda item by unveiling the results of a citywide survey. The results showed that 64 percent of residents favored the increase while 34 percent opposed raising the city's tariffs.

But Mitchell's numbers didn't jibe when it came time for public comment. Out of the nine speakers at Tuesday's meeting, four opposed raising taxes while three supported the initiative -- the remaining two speakers stayed on the fence.

"I don't know why you would declare a fiscal emergency now. This city has been broke for 30 years," said one Lemon Grove resident.

"Come clean and dissolve the city. You're visionless. You stand for nothing. Break this city up and let's act like adults for a change," said another.

The city manager's numbers also didn't hold up when it came to the council. While councilmember Mary England and Mayor Mary Teresa Sessom acknowledged the city's sour finances they did not support increasing sales tax until serious budget reforms are adopted; the remaining three councilmembers thought residents should step up and help the city out.

Councilmember George Gastil pleaded with residents to "throw some pennies our way to help save our city" and councilmember Jerry Jones said the increase in taxes would allow the "breathing space needed to get to a long-term fix."

Despite Jones's support of raising taxes, he voted against declaring a fiscal emergency.

Moments later, Mayor Sessom adjourned the meeting.

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Comments

a2zresource March 10, 2010 @ noon

Actually, this is pretty much news to me.

Looking at the condition of Imperial Avenue as one travels from Encantostan into that great metropolis known for its ceremonial citrus, the dismal state of San Diego streets giving way to smooth asphalt had me convinced that Lemon Grove had it going on.

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Ponzi March 13, 2010 @ 7:34 a.m.

If Lemon Grove needs money, they should quit giving land away to religious organizations. They should also 0obey the separation of church and state.

Lemon Grove gave land way to the St. John Catholic Church; the one block segment of city street where Washington connected with Lemon Grove Way.

If every organization that was improved “traffic safety” is just given a street, then there would be no streets left.

Lemon Grove should have been compensated for this. The church no has planted a tree and placed benches and other fixture on the street. It’s not just a street closure but a give-a-way of public land to a private concern.

With insider deals this this and the other stupid things Lemon Grove City Council does, it’s no wonder the city is broke.

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a2zresource March 13, 2010 @ 8:48 a.m.

RE #2:

If you think that land give-away deserves interest, then you should have seen the street give-away to the Citrus Heights developer that was engineered before the Lemon Grove Community Development Department, later approved by said City Council... when both streets to be eradicated for some of 77 proposed homes are actually in the San Diego city limits! (This may actually be in dispute, but the City of Lemon Grove has historically spent not one dime for improvements along those stretches of Broadway and 69th. The area became part of the Helix Water District only in the last two years.)

Do you imagine that anybody thought to include San Diego in any of those discussions? The Lemon Grove City Council seemed rather oblivious to the fact that the entire site was subject to a federal criminal case where the local power utility was initially found guilty (http://www.justice.gov/usao/cas/press/cas70713-SDGEVerdict.pdf).

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burrogb March 18, 2010 @ 10 p.m.

I'd like to know more about the latest Citrus Heights actions because in 2001 and 2002 I was receiving regular notices on the project (I live a block and a half from the old gas field) since I had gone down to the Lemon Grove town hall and requested such notifications. My aunt (now passed, who lived on nearby Wunderlin Ave.) and I went to attend a public hearing on April 9, 2001 in Lemon Grove, but it was canceled without notice. The last personal word I received about this site was from the Department of Toxic Substances Control in May 2002.

Shame on Lemon Grove for not keeping Encanto/San Diego residents informed. A huge concern for me continues to be potential Lemon Grove traffic flow that should never be allowed to impact our trolley crossing/intersection southward on 69th St. onto Imperial and Lisbon.

If Lemon grove is broke it is no fault of mine--they get many of my shopping dollars already. And as the San Diego City Council/Redevelopment Agency is wiping out the existing and potential future for business along Imperial Avenue in Encanto, I guess Lemon Grove is it commercially for us, forever. Lemon Grove should not have forgotten about including us on Citrus Heights

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