Sanger reopens local boxing club

City council votes to reopen the doors to the Sanger Boxing Club, approves measure for 2024 ballot to increase hotel tax

Sanger Youth Center from west side of L Street. (Kenny Goodman)
Sanger Youth Center from west side of L Street. (Kenny Goodman)
Darren Fraser
Published September 13, 2023  • 
11:00 am

SANGER –  At the Sept. 7 Sanger City Council meeting, the temporary closure of the Sanger Boxing Club was brought to a close itself after the council voted to reopen it to the community.

“We resolved staffing issues,” Sanger Police Chief and interim City Manager Greg Garner replied when asked about what led to the padlock and chain being removed from the door to the Sanger Youth Center; along with the City of Sanger Boxing Program officially reopening, effective Sept. 12. The club has been closed since Aug. 10.

Garner’s answer on the question appears to be at odds with what transpired at the Aug. 17 council meeting. At the convening, head boxing coach Mario Garcia, who has since been replaced in his former role with the Sanger Boxing Club, chastised the council for punishing the club boxers for his suspension by USA Boxing.

“I talked to USA Boxing about my suspension,” Garcia said at the Aug. 17 meeting. “My suspension is through USA Boxing only.”

Garcia did not elaborate on why he was suspended, but did make it a point of emphasis that his involvement with USA Boxing and with the city of Sanger were not in conjunction.

“They are two separate things,” Garcia said at the Sept. 7 meeting.

At the Aug. 17 meeting, city attorney Hilda Cantu Montoy said, “Serious matters came to the attention of the city and it was determined by the acting city manager that corrective action needs to be taken to adhere to county and state laws. Once that corrective action is taken, it will enable the program (boxing) to resume.”

Garner said going forward, the club will employ a part-time coach with volunteers rounding out the staff.

Hotel tax

At the Sept. 7 meeting, city council also approved to place a measure on the March 2024 ballot that would increase the transient occupancy tax (TOT) – the hotel tax – from 4% to 12%.

The council voted to place a measure on the March 2024 primary ballot that, if passed by voters, would increase the TOT – the hotel tax – from 4% to 12%. According to a Sept. 11 fresnoland article, Sanger enacted the 4% rate in 1960. The last time the council voted to increase the tax was in 2016.

Councilmember Emeralda Hurtado proposed an 8% tax, arguing that Sanger lacks the number of tourists to sustain a 12% tax. Councilmember Michael Montelongo argued in favor of the 12% rate. He pointed out that the city is the last major stop for motorists before they travel to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Darren Fraser