Local Tax Elections:
Voters Approve Many Local Tax Hikes in Low-Turnout November 3 Elections

In low-turnout elections held November 3 in many parts of the state, voters approved most of the tax increases presented to them, including seven out of nine sales and use tax increases.

In Monterey County, where voter turnout was just 11.9 percent, voters in the city of Greenfield approved a 0.75 percent sales tax increase (Measure W) with just 588 votes in support. Although the ballot question specifically mentioned several services and programs to be funded by the new revenue, the description also indicated that the tax would fund “other essential services,” thus qualifying it as a general tax increase that required a majority vote (rather than an earmarked special tax that would need a two-thirds vote).

Generally, the sales tax increases were approved in wealthier jurisdictions, and rejected in poorer areas. However, voters in Dunsmuir, a city in Siskiyou County with median household income far below the state average, approved a 0.5 percent sales tax hike (Measure P).

In Delano (Kern County), voters rejected a 1 percent sales tax (Measure A) despite the city’s best efforts to use taxpayer-funded resources to campaign for the proposal, which was marketed as an extension of a current tax (approved in 2007 as Measure I), rather than a tax increase. In presentations to the City Council – and in materials posted on the city’s website – staff presented questions and answers about the proposal, including, “Why does the City need an extension of Measure I? … Measure I allows the City to provide positive amenities to our residents and our Community.” The website includes a document stating, “The extension of Measure I is vital to continue to grow Delano’s future.” Voters disagreed, with only 43.8 percent supporting the sales tax measure.

Parcel taxes ran into more opposition, with voters rejecting seven of the 15 parcel tax measures on the ballot. In Sonoma County, voters in the Wilmar Union School District rejected Measure C, despite a biased ballot question that asked: “Without increasing the current tax rate, to support academic excellence, provide stable funding the State cannot take away, to keep school libraries open, maintain computer and technology programs, reading programs, for small class sizes, music programs and for necessary programs and materials, shall the Wilmar Union School District be authorized to levy $50 per parcel annually for eight years, have no funds for administrators’ salaries, provide a senior citizens’ exemption and have all funds stay local?” The measure received 62 percent of the vote, leaving it short of the two-thirds vote required for parcel taxes.

Any taxpayer wishing to challenge the legality of a new parcel tax has 60 days to do so.

The table below shows preliminary results for the November 3 local measures.

Type of Measure

County

Jurisdiction

Ballot Designation

Description

 

 

 

Result

 

 

 

% in Support

Bond

San Francisco

City and County of San Francisco

Proposition A

Authorizes the issuance of $310 million in bonds to finance construction of 30,000 affordable housing units over the next six years.

Pass

73.91

Bond

San Mateo

City of San Carlos

Measure V

Authorizes the issuance of $45 million in bonds to protect and preserve open space, improve access, build and maintain recreation trails, and construct restrooms.

Fail

38.64

Bond

Santa Clara

City of Los Altos

Measure A

Authorizes the issuance of $65 million in bonds to expand Hillview Community Center and Park.

Fail

28.89

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bond, School

El Dorado

Placerville Union School District

Measure B

Authorizes the issuance of $3.2 million in bonds to increase access to technology for students.

TCTC

55.02

Bond, School

Imperial

Heber Elementary School District

Measure J

Authorizes the issuance of $6 million in bonds to fund construction of a gymnasium.

Pass

76.72

Bond, School

Los Angeles

Compton Unified School District

Measure S

Authorizes the issuance of $350 million in bonds to fund school and facility construction.

TCTC

56.41

Bond, School

Los Angeles

Walnut Valley Unified School District

Measure O

Authorizes the issuance of $208 million in bonds to upgrade technology and classrooms, improve school safety, and repair classrooms and equipment.

TCTC

53.23

Bond, School

Marin

San Rafael City Elementary School District

Measure A

Authorizes the issuance of $108.22 million in bonds to upgrade and repair school classrooms and facilities.

Pass

66.30

Bond, School

Marin

San Rafael City High School District

Measure B

Authorizes the issuance of $160.5 million in bonds to upgrade and repair school classrooms, facilities, and technology.

Pass

67.08

Bond, School

Mendocino

Potter Valley Community School District

Measure T

Authorizes the issuance of $3.1 million in bonds to upgrade and repair school classrooms, facilities, and technology.

Pass

68.49

Bond, School

San Mateo

Redwood City Elementary School District

Measure T

Authorizes the issuance of $193 million in bonds to upgrade and repair school classrooms, facilities, and technology.

Pass

62.52

Bond, School

San Mateo

San Mateo-Foster City School District

Measure X

Authorizes the issuance of $148 million in bonds to build new facilities to ease overcrowding.

TCTC

57.75

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hotel Tax

Humboldt

City of Ferndale

Measure C

Increases the city's existing transient occupancy tax from 8% to 10% to fund general city services.

Pass

75.96

Hotel Tax

Los Angeles

City of Hermosa Beach

Measure H

Increases the city's existing transient occupancy tax from 10% to 12% to fund general city services.

Pass

85.10

Hotel Tax

Stanislaus

City of Ceres

Measure E

Doubles the city's existing transient occupancy tax from 5% to 10% to fund general city services.

Pass

58.09

Hotel Tax

Trinity

County of Trinity

Measure W

Doubles the county's existing transient occupancy tax from 5% to 10% and earmarks revenue for tourism marketing, county volunteer fire departments, and the Sheriff's Department. Two-thirds vote required.

Fail

59.08

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miscellaneous

El Dorado

El Dorado Hills Community Services District

Measure E

Advisory vote on whether the county board of supervisors should re-zone 100 acres of the former executive golf course to a designation that allows residential housing and commercial development on the property.

Fail

9.11

Miscellaneous

Marin

City of Sausalito

Measure F

Authorizes the city to lease a park to the Sausalito Financing Authority and use lease revenue to finance upgrades and repairs to specified city parks.

Pass

62.71

Miscellaneous

Marin

Inverness Public Utility District

Measure G

Authorizes an adjustment to the Gann appropriations limit for the district to include the combined total of all applicable revenue sources for the 2015-16 through 2017-18 fiscal years.

Pass

98.92

Miscellaneous

Marin

Marinwood Community Services District

Measure H

Authorizes an increase over the Gann appropriations limit for the fiscal years from 2016-17 through 2019-20 in the amount equal to the revenue received from the special fire protection and emergency services tax approved in November 2011.

Pass

79.85

Miscellaneous

San Bernardino

Helendale Community Services District

Measure CC

Advisory vote on whether the district should provide local police protection services at a cost that will be paid by property owners in the district.

Fail

22.65

Miscellaneous

San Francisco

City of San Francisco

Proposition C

Requires any individual, business, or organization that spends more than $2,500 on public relations, media relations, advertising, public outreach, research, and studies for indirect lobbying to register with the city's ethics commission and pay a $500 “fee.” Nonprofits are exempt from the “fee.”

Pass

74.88

Miscellaneous

San Mateo

Menlo Park Fire Protection District

Measure Y

Reauthorizes the district's Gann limit override for four years, and increases the limit from $40 million to $50 million.

Pass

77.50

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parcel Tax

El Dorado

Cosumnes River Community Services District

Measure D

Increases the district's existing parcel tax from $150 to $250 per parcel per year to fund road maintenance and improvement.

Fail

62.92

Parcel Tax

Humboldt

Arcata Fire Protection District

Measure A

Imposes a parcel tax of $96 per year for single-family residences to fund fire services.

Fail

44.58

Parcel Tax

Humboldt

Fruitland Ridge Fire Protection District

Measure B

Impose a parcel tax of $60 per year to fund fire services.

Pass

72.97

Parcel Tax

Inyo

Southern Inyo Fire Protection District

Measure E

Imposes a parcel tax to obtain, furnish, operate, and maintain fire suppression and emergency response personnel. The rate of the tax varies depending on the type of property. Owners of single-residential parcels would pay $38.64 plus $1.50 per acre, while owners of a heavy industrial parcel would pay $1,000 plus $20 per acre, for example.

Fail

52.78

Parcel Tax

Kern

Stallion Springs Community Services District

Measure B

Imposes a parcel tax of $50 per parcel to fund police services.

Pass

69.06

Parcel Tax

Los Angeles

City of Claremont

Measure PS

Imposes a parcel tax of $286 per parcel until June 30, 2056, to fund site acquisition, design, construction and furnishing of a new public safety facility.

Fail

24.97

Parcel Tax

Los Angeles

City of San Marino

Measure SA

Extends the city's existing public safety parcel tax for four years to fund paramedic, fire and police services. The rate ranges from $457 per parcel to $2,611 per parcel annually, depending on the type and size of the parcel, with annual increases.

Pass

73.89

Parcel Tax

Los Angeles

City of South Pasadena

Measure L

Increases the city's existing parcel tax to pay for library operations, and extends the tax for 8 years. The measure increases the tax from $24 annually to $32 annually for owners of homes with less than 2,000 square feet. Owners of homes with more than 4,000 square feet would pay $64 annually. Owners of multi-family units would pay $16, and non-residential parcels would pay between $32 and $128.

Pass

81.51

Parcel Tax

Los Angeles/Ventura

Las Virgenes Unified School District

Measure E

Imposes a tax of $98 per parcel to fund schools and educational programs and materials.

Pass

76.37

Parcel Tax

Marin

Marinwood Community Services District

Measure I

Replaces the existing parcel tax of $189.56 per parcel with a special tax of $189.56 “per unit on each parcel,” as defined by the measure, with an annual cost-of-living adjustment, as well as an increase in the district appropriations limit by the amount of revenue received from the tax.

Pass

73.74

Parcel Tax

San Bernardino

City of Rancho Cucamonga West Side CFD No. 1

Measure A

Replaces existing assessments with a special parcel tax of $44.50 to $89 per parcel for residential parcels, depending on size, and $44 to $712 for non-residential property. Additionally imposes a tax on the sale of residential property of $89 to $178 per parcel depending on size. Revenue would fund street cleaning and maintenance, park cleanup and maintenance, and street light acquisition. Also includes a Gann override.

Fail

22.03

Parcel Tax

San Bernardino

Running Springs Water District

Measure B

Increases the district's $65 parcel tax to fund fire protection and emergency medical services. The tax rate would increase to $95 in 2016, $125 in 2017, and $158 in 2018, with annual increases up to 3% after that.

Fail

45.62

Parcel Tax

Santa Clara

Campbell Union School District

Measure B

Extends the district's existing $96 parcel tax until 2025 to fund district schools.

Pass

74.77

Parcel Tax

Sonoma

Wilmar Union School District

Measure C

Extends the district's existing $50 parcel tax for 8 years to fund district schools, facilities, and after-school programs.

Fail

61.90

Parcel Tax

Sonoma

Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District

Measure B

Extends the district's existing $89 parcel tax until 2025 to fund district schools, facilities, and after-school programs.

Pass

68.20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sales Tax

Contra Costa

City of Hercules

Measure B

Indefinitely extends the city's ½-cent sales tax that is scheduled to expire in 2016.

Pass

75.38

Sales Tax

Kern

City of Delano

Measure A

Extends the city’s 1 percent sales tax that otherwise will expire in 2018, and uses revenue for general city services.

Fail

43.84

Sales Tax

Marin

City of Novato

Measure C

Extends the city's existing sales tax, and reduces it from 1/2 cent to 1/4 cent, to fund general city services.

Pass

72.90

Sales Tax

Monterey

City of Greenfield

Measure V

Extends the city's existing 1 cent sales tax to fund general city services.

Pass

67.81

Sales Tax

Monterey

City of Greenfield

Measure W

Imposes an additional 0.75 cent sales tax on top of the existing 1 cent sales tax to fund general city services.

Pass

59.45

Sales Tax

San Mateo

City of San Mateo

Measure S

Extends the city's existing 1/4 cent sales tax for 30 years to fund general city services.

Pass

69.56

Sales Tax

San Mateo

City of South San Francisco

Measure W

Imposes a 1/2 cent sales tax for 30 years to fund general city services.

Pass

61.03

Sales Tax

Siskiyou

City of Dunsmuir

Measure P

Imposes a 1/2 cent sales tax to fund general city services.

Pass

61.13

Sales Tax

Stanislaus

City of Modesto

Measure G

Increases the city's sales tax rate from 7.625% to 8.125% for 8 years to fund programs designed to make neighborhoods safer.

Fail

43.81

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utility Users Tax

Contra Costa

City of Hercules

Measure C

Extends the city's existing 2% utility users tax until 2025. The 2% tax is in addition to a separate 6% tax that will expire in 2025.

Pass

72.22

Utility Users Tax

Los Angeles

City of San Marino

Measure U

“Updates” and extends the city's utility users tax for 10 years, and decreases the maximum rate from 6% to 5%.

Pass

71.96

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 16, 2015

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