Vice Mayor Terry Scott: Why supporting the Benicia sales tax measure means supporting Benicia’s quality of life

Benicia Capitol State Historic Park.

By Vice Mayor Terry Scott, January 9, 2024

Benicia Vice-Mayor Terry Scott.


By now you’ve hopefully received a thorough letter from City Manager Mario Giuliani and a pamphlet outlining our City’s financial struggles.

As Vice Mayor, I encourage you to read, understand, and recognize the longstanding challenges we, as a community, are confronting. These messages represent our desire to be direct, transparent, and informative.

Some may call these messages “Gloom and Doom”, I’d like to refer to them as direct and to the point.

To me, this is a unique example of the City government ripping off the decades of band-aids and giving the citizenry insight and solution into our finances.

Our financial crisis did not just happen overnight.

Unfortunately, over the past decade, we’ve deferred addressing structural deficits and the need for systemic change. The proverbial can was kicked down the road.

We now are faced with the reality of what kicking the can down the road really looks like.

While it’s important to learn from the past, it’s more important to embrace the reality of creating a sustainable city governance model that includes reimagining what services and opportunities city government can provide within the financial constraints of a budget.

The time for confronting systemic change is apparent, as evident in the realities that continued deficit spending cannot continue.  We cannot continue to deplete reserves.

Benicia Public Library.

Funding to budget, without additional revenue, will have a direct effect on our quality of life which impacts police and fire services, recreation, library resources and much more, as noted by City Manager Giuliani.

Unfortunately, the values and lifestyle that make Benicia a special place are now at risk.

As the City Manager noted, in combination there are three paths to move forward:

  1. Reduce Expenses; cut staff, cut services, reorganize city government.
  2. Increase Revenue; tax measures that are voted on by the community based on hard, straight facts identifying need and purpose.
  3. Facilitate Development; provide opportunities for business growth, housing growth and economic development.

This is not a one size fits all solution.  We can’t simply cut our way to savings. As noted, we find ourselves at the end of the road.  The decades of no major business growth, flat housing growth, population decline and an explosion in general costs of operating including competitive labor costs has brought us here to today.

For most of us, we moved here for the quality of life of what living in a small town provides: open spaces, small-town charm, strong, responsive police and fire services, a multitude of parks, arts and culture, safety nets for the less fortunate, organized recreational activities, senior activities and much more.

Alvarez Ninth Street Park.

In order to continue to be the Benicia we want, we must say to the voters clearly that we have few options to maintain our quality of life.

We are asking for your support on March 5 for:

Passage of Measure A, the hotel transient occupancy tax and Measure B, the increase of our Sales Tax to provide the revenue we need to generate funds to sustain the services we require.

I ask for your support on passage of these two measures.

I ask for you to attend the open houses to gain more knowledge on the implications of the city budget.

Terry Scott
Vice Mayor
City of Benicia

Visit to learn more about Benicia’s Resiliency Plan, sign up for updates from Benicia City Manager Mario Giuliani, and join the effort to help shape Benicia’s future. Add your voice!


Community Survey
January 15-26 – link coming soon
In Person Workshops
January 18 • 6pm-8pm
City of Benicia Public Library
January 25 • 6pm-8pm
City of Benicia Community Center
Virtual Workshops via Zoom (links coming soon)
January 17 • 6pm
January 24 • 6pm
[BenIndy will post links to these meetings when they become available. Meanwhile, save the dates!]