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November 6, 2018 — California General Election

City of St. Helena
Measure E - 2/3 Approval Required

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Election Results


2,112 votes yes (80.83%)

501 votes no (19.17%)

100% of precincts reporting (6/6).

2,773 ballots counted.

Transient occupancy tax
— undefined

To increase, improve, and preserve affordable and workforce housing in the City of St. Helena, shall an ordinance be adopted to levy an ongoing transient occupancy tax (hotel tax) of 1% on hotel charges to visitors of 30 days or less, increasing the maximum hotel tax rate from 12% to 13%, with all revenue from the new tax (estimated: $279,000 annually) to be restricted to providing programs and services for affordable and workforce housing?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

St Helena City Attorney


The St. Helena City Council has placed Measure E on the ballot. Measure E would increase the existing transient occupancy tax on rental of hotel rooms, referred to as the TOT,” by one percent (1%) within St. Helena.

All revenues from the increase would be restricted to programs and services for affordable and workforce housing.

Currently, the TOT rate in St. Helena is 12% of the room rental rate. Measure E would increase the TOT rate by 1%, to 13% of the room rent. This is in addition to a 2% Napa Valley Tourism Improvement District assessment that is currently imposed on hotels and passed on to hotel visitors. The effective rate of the City’s TOT combined with the assessment, now 14%, would be15% if St. Helena’s voters approve Measure E.

The tax is paid only by persons, primarily visitors, who rent hotel rooms for 30 days or less. The 1% increase would result in additional revenue of approximately $279,000 annually, and has no sunset provision.

Affordable and workforce housing services and programs funded from Measure E includeactivities to increase, improve and preserve the City’s supply of rental and for-sale housing for households earning up to 120% of area median income. Examples include construction of new affordable housing, conversion of market rate units to affordable units, preservation, rehabilitation, or maintenance of affordable units, and acquisition of real property for any of the programs.

Households eligible to occupy housing funded by this 1% increase include “moderate incomehouseholds” (earning up to 120% of area median income), “median income households” (up to 100% of area median income), “low-income households” or “lower income households” (up to80% of area median income), very low-income households” (up to 50% of area median income), or an “extremely low income household” (up to 30% of area median income). The current median income for a four person household in Napa County is $91,000.00.

Because Measure E restricts the use of tax revenue from the 1% increase to programs and services for affordable and workforce housing, it is a “special tax.” All revenues would be placed in a separate account and would not be comingled with other City funds. An annual report must be filed detailing the amount of special tax revenues collected and expended. Measure E will be approved if at least two-thirds of those voting vote “Yes”.

A “Yes” vote is a vote in favor of the tax. A “No” vote is a vote against the tax.

Voters in St. Helena also will have an opportunity to vote on a similar Napa County Measure I. Measure I will only impact taxes charged in hotels located outside the City limits.

This statement is an impartial analysis of Measure E. If you desire a copy of Measure E, please contact the City Clerk’s office at 707-968-2640 or A copy will be provided at no cost.

DATED: August 1, 2018
Thomas B. Brown, St. Helena City Attorney

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR


Please vote “yes” on Measure E.

Measure E, which applies only in the City of St. Helena, is part of a broader initiative, embraced by all cities and Napa County, to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax (“TOT”) froma Countywide uniform rate of 12% to a Countywide uniform rate of 13%.

The new revenue can only be used to support much needed affordable and workforce housing and housing related programs.

Lodging guests pay St. Helena TOT tax. Residents do not unless they stay in a local hotel.

Measure E enjoys the support of the local hotel industry. It recognizes that its workers need housing that is affordable to them. It does not believe that a one percent increase will harm the competitive position of the industry.

As we are reminded daily, housing affordability and UpValley traffic congestion are linked together. Projects and related programs that increase the supply of affordable and workforce housing also should help ease traffic congestion on our main roads.

Countywide the one percent increase is expected to provide about $5 million per year, mostly from lodging guests in the City of Napa. For the City of St. Helena, a one percent TOT increase equates to about $279,000 annually and in the County outside of the cities the same increase (for which we urge St. Helena residents to support in their capacity as County residents) equates to about $1.1 million annually. The new revenue provides an important supplemental financial resource for funding needed housing throughout Napa County.

Please join us in voting “yes” on Measure E and help St. Helena and the County address the critical need for affordable and workforce housing and reduce traffic congestion.

s/Alan Galbraith
Mayor, City of Saint Helena

s/Peter White
Vice Mayor, City of Saint. Helena

s/Geoff Ellsworth
Councilmember, City of Saint. Helena

s/Mary Koberstein
Councilmember, City of Saint. Helena

s/Paul Dohring
Councilmember, City of Saint. Helena

— Napa County Elections Office

Arguments AGAINST

There is no argument against Measure E

— Napa County Elections Office
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