Haggerty: Alameda County is not helping transportation sales tax by buying cars from elsewhere

ALAMEDA COUNTY
Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty says its purchasing policies, especially when it comes to big-ticket items such as automobiles, are undercutting its own ability to fund Measure BB, the countywide one-cent transportation sales tax used to rebuild the East Bay’s roads.

At issue was an item on the Board of Supervisor’s agenda Tuesday morning asking approval for the purchase of an electric car to be used by the county’s Building Maintenance Department. The cost of the vehicle, a Nissan Leaf, is $24,310.

When Haggerty asked a county staff member about the location of the dealership the county intended to buy the cars, they did not know, but did not believe it was Alameda County. Haggerty, though, noted the county has bought a number of vehicles of late from dealerships in Gilroy and Monterey.

“I really think that it is wrong that we are purchasing vehicles outside the county,” said Haggerty “Yet we then send sales tax to another county when in fact, we’re running these vehicles on our roads and our one-cent sales tax authorization gets nothing for this.”

He later called for a board policy on purchasing vehicles from dealers in Alameda County, in addition to buying American-made cars. “There’s just as many good electric vehicles that are being made here, creating American jobs, but having said that, there’s certainly a Nissan dealer here in Alameda County that could match the price, whatever price that you got,” said Haggerty.

The loss of sales tax from the county’s purchasing of vehicles had apparently irked Haggerty for some time. He prefaced his remarks Tuesday with “this is good time to get this before the public.” He added, “I don’t know if I’m the only one that it’s bothering, but it shouldn’t be happening. I think this county should be walking the walk and talking the talk.”

For the time being, though, Haggerty and board voted to approve the purchase of the electric vehicle, but they intend to look into the possibility of formulating a policy for keeping sales tax dollars within the county.

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