Sample Ballot for June 5, 2018 Election

CITY OF DAVIS

MEASURE H


CITY ATTORNEY'S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE H

Measure H, if approved by two-thirds of the voters voting on the measure, will renew the Park Maintenance Tax, a special tax adopted by the Davis voters in 1998 and renewed in 2002, 2006 and 2012. Unless renewed by the voters, the existing Park Maintenance Tax will expire on June 30, 2018. If Measure H is adopted, it will renew the Park Maintenance Tax beginning July 1, 2018 continuing through June 30, 2038. This measure was placed on the ballot by the City Council.

Measure H, the Park Maintenance Tax, as set forth in Ordinance No. 2521, will continue funding for the maintenance and operation of community parks, greenbelts, open space, street lighting, swimming pools, and related public facilities. As a special tax, the tax revenue must be placed in a special fund and can only be used for these purposes and incidental expenses related to these purposes. The City Council is required to designate one or more city commissions to annually review expenditures of Park Maintenance Tax funds and proposed expenditures for the next fiscal year. Each designated commission will make recommendations to the City Council for use of the tax revenues by the City, within the allowable Park Maintenance Tax purposes.

If approved by the voters, the Park Maintenance Tax will continue to be imposed on parcels of property within the City based on the use of the property. For fiscal year 2018-2019, the maximum annual (July1 –June 30) tax rates will be:

Single-family residential $49.00 per unit

Multi-family residential $49.00 per unit

Group Living $20.00 per resident

Commercial $40.00 per 1,000 square feet of Improved Building Space up to a maximum of 10,000 square feet

Industrial $12.80 per employee up to a maximum of 30 employees

Commercial Day Care Facilities $14.30 per 1,000 square feet of Improved Building Space up to a maximum of 10,000 square feet

Vacant Land $49.00 per Assessor's Parcel

Starting for fiscal year 2019-20 and each fiscal year thereafter, the maximum tax rates will be increased on July 1 by two percent (2%). For each fiscal year the City Council will set the actual tax rate, which may be lower than the maximum tax rate. The tax rate in any year cannot exceed that year’s maximum tax rate.

Measure H contains several exemptions to the tax including an exemption for public property and the requirement to continue the existing low income refund program.

The Park Maintenance Tax would continue to be collected with the ad valorem property taxes for each parcel, unless the City later decided to collect the tax with other City taxes and charges.

Measure H would sunset and be repealed on June 30, 2038, and could not be collected after that time unless two-thirds of the voters voting in an election approved an extension or re-authorization of the tax.

/s/ Harriet A. Steiner Davis City Attorney


ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE H

In 1998, the citizens of Davis first approved a $49 parks tax, which has been successfully renewed over the years. Measure H will renew this existing tax, allowing the City to continue to fund parks maintenance, including family parks, greenbelt maintenance, open space and habitat maintenance, tree planting and maintenance, recreational programs and facilities, and vandalism repair.

This is the same tax rate the voters first approved twenty years ago, and has been renewed multiple times since. The current tax expires in June of 2018.

This tax generates $1.4 million in annual revenue, used to offset parks maintenance costs. In 1998, this funding source generated 75% of park maintenance costs. Today it covers 18% of this cost, which is why small inflator is included (not to exceed 2% annually). Since 1998, we've seen total park acreage grow by one third.

Meanwhile, for more than a decade, the state has been shifting a large share of our local property taxes away from our city. At the beginning of the last decade, the state returned about 27% of local property taxes to our city. Today, approximately 18% is returned. The state has shifted more than $3 million in property tax revenue away from our city.

Our city has seen its share of fiscal uncertainty, but economic development efforts to generate revenue are underway, as well as continued efforts to prudently manage city costs.

Think for a moment about the reasons you enjoy living in Davis. Surely, among them is our amazing parks and greenbelt system, and our many recreational opportunities, programs and services. Without Measure H, these essential civic and cultural amenities, along with other General Fund services, risk severe cutbacks.

Please join us in voting Yes on Measure H.

/s/ Brett Lee, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Davis

/s/ Lucas Frerichs, Councilmember

/s/ Robert Davis, Mayor, City of Davis

/s/ Rochelle Harry Swanson, Councilmember

/s/ Will Arnold, City Councilmember


REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE H

Our City is claiming that our financial problems are all because the State is not giving them as much money as before. They state, “At the beginning of the last decade, the state returned about 27% of local property taxes to our city. Today, approximately 18% is returned. The State annually has shifted a total of over $3 million in property tax from the City".

Funny thing...this is the exact same language used the City's ballot argument for the Parks Tax Measure when it was last renewed 6 years ago in 2012. Some things never change!

Only now the City is also claiming it is continuing "efforts to prudently manage city costs". Not true! For example, the average total annual compensation of our Park Maintenance II workers has risen from $66,412 in 2012 to $83,745 in 2016 — a 26% increase. So much for prudently managing costs!

Additionally, our last Parks Tax Measure renewal was for 6 years. But the City is now asking us to approve a 20-year renewal...and with no built-in accountability. Every bit of this Parks Tax Measure and other Parks budget money can be legally diverted for other uses in the City and the citizens footing the bill have no legal recourse. Do you trust our government to spend your tax money wisely for the next 20-years?

We all have household budgets that we are forced to live within. Our City government must learn to do the same.

Please Vote No on Measure H

www.DavisTaxProtestVote. Com

/s/ Michael Nolan Acting President of Yolo County Taxpayers Association

/s/ John Munn Former Member of the Board of Education of the Davis Joint Unified School District

/s/ Don Price Emeritus Professor of History, University of California Davis

/s/ Pam Nieberg Former Co-Chair, Yes on Measure O (City of Davis Open Space Ordinance)


ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE H

Davis does not have a revenue problem in maintaining our beloved Parks. Davis has an employee spending problem! For far too long Davis voters have approved tax increases, ostensibly for maintaining critical City functions, only to see the new revenues instead go to increased employee compensation.

  • In 2004, the voters approved a half cent sales tax increase after being told it was necessary to keep from laying off police and firefighters. Yet the very next year, all of that money and more was used to give employees the biggest pay increases in City history. Firefighters received a 36% increase over 4 years and our average firefighter total compensation is now over $206,000 annually!
  • In 2012, voters approved a $49 parcel tax for Parks and then another half cent sales tax increase in 2016. Where did all that money go? Well, from 2012 to 2016 the average total salary and benefits for all full-time City employees increased over 25% from $99,849 to $124,954 (Source: www.TransparentCalifornia.org). Current average municipal employee salaries are now more than twice that of the private sector in Davis.

But the City government has done virtually nothing to control employee compensation which now totals almost $38 million annually for just over 300 employees. The Finance and Budget Commission, our watchdog citizen commission, recommended over 2 years ago that before any new tax measures are put on the ballot the City should,

“Work to accelerate the completion of a full staffing analysis to determine match between service delivery needs and staffing….This should save $1 million per year in employee costs”.

Yet this simple study was never even done! We clearly cannot trust our City government to otherwise spend our hard-earned money wisely for the 20-year duration of this tax.

Please vote “NO” on Measure H.

www.DavisTaxProtestVote. com

/s/ Michael Nolan Acting President of Yolo County Taxpayers Association

/s/ John Munn Former President of the Board of Education of the Davis Joint Unified School District

/s/ Don Price Emeritus Professor of History, University of California Davis

/s/ Pam Nieberg Former Co-Chair, Yes on Measure O (City of Davis Open Space Ordinance)


REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE H

Twenty years ago, Davis voters first passed a $49 parks tax. The city is now asking for a simple renewal of this tax at the same rate.

Over the years, our parks and recreation services have expanded and become more inclusive, our park acreage has increased by one-third, all the while the funding we receive from the state has significantly diminished.

For that reason, some have argued that the parks tax should be increased. But the city is taking the conservative approach and asking for the same $49 per year.

We believe 13 cents per day is a small price to pay to help maintain our neighborhood parks and playgrounds, our greenbelts and walking paths, and our recreational facilities and programs.

These essential city services, and the positive impact they have on our community, and our home values, cannot be overstated.

In 1998, the original parks tax was described as “vital if the city is to continue to provide the quality of life Davis residents expect” by former Mayors Vigfus Asmundson and Julie Partansky, who signed the ballot statement in favor. Two decades later, this essential truth has not changed.

Our parks and recreation services remain vital to our community - and deserve our continued support.

On June 5, please join us in supporting our parks, and voting Yes on Measure H.

/s/ Helen M. Thomson Retired State Assemblymember

/s/ Bruce Gallaudet Retired, Davis Enterprise

/s/ Robin Dewey President, Team Davis

/s/ J. D. Denton Retired Business Owner

/s/ Emily Griswold Former Chair, City of Davis Recreation and Park Commission