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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
Local

City of Sonoma
Measure S - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passed

4,452 votes yes (79.9%)

1,119 votes no (20.1%)

100% of precincts reporting (8/8).

Increase Transient Occupancy Tax
— undefined

To provide funding for infrastructure and general City services including, but not limited to, police, fire, emergency preparedness, streets, parks, open space, and recreation, plus affordable/workforce housing shall City of Sonoma increase the ongoing transient occupancy tax (hotel tax) rate by 2% on January 1, 2019, and authorize an additional 1% increase by January 1, 2024 (estimated $1,125,000 annually all funds used locally), and increase the City's appropriations limit for Fiscal Years 2018/19-2021/22 by the amount of increased tax?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Summary

Sonoma County ROV (Sample Ballot)

CITY ATTORNEY'S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE S

If adopted by a majority of City of Sonoma voters, this measure will enact legislation (an ordinance amending Section 3.16.030 of the Sonoma Municipal Code) increasing the transient occupancy tax (“tax”), also generally known as a “hotel tax,” for the purpose of increasing revenues to assist the City in maintaining and enhancing the financial resources of the City to provide services and maintain infrastructure.

The City of Sonoma currently imposes a hotel tax at the rate of ten percent (10%) of the rent paid by guests for the privilege of renting hotel rooms or other lodging places in the City on a short-term basis of thirty (30) consecutive days or less. This measure would increase the tax to twelve percent (12%) of the rent beginning January 1, 2019 and, in addition, allow the city council to increase the tax to thirteen percent (13%) by or before January 1, 2024.

The entire increase in the hotel tax shall be used for City general fund purposes to be spent only in the City of Sonoma. The tax revenues collected through this measure could be used for such purposes as: police and fire services, emergency pre- paredness, streets, parks, open space, and recreation, and affordable/workforce housing, among other uses.

If the measure passes, the City would receive an estimated amount of $750,000 in additional revenue on an annual basis beginning 2019, and then another estimated amount of $375,000 in additional revenue on an annual basis if the City Council increases the TOT an additional one percent (1%) by January 1, 2024 in accordance with the measure (for an estimated total of $1,125,000 annually with both increases).

Article XIIIB of the California Constitution establishes a ceiling on local government appropriations. Section 4 of Article XIIIB permits the voters to alter the appropria- tions limit by a majority vote. If approved by a majority of the voters, this measure would increase the appropriations limit in an amount equal to the increase in hotel tax revenues generated under this measure for Fiscal Years 2018/19 through 2021/22.

The proposed ordinance was placed on the ballot by the City Council.

Since the ordinance does not limit the City’s use of the revenue from the hotel tax it is a general tax. State law authorizes the City to implement this ordinance upon approval by a simple majority of voters who vote on the measure.

A “yes” vote would approve an increase in the transient occupancy tax rate to at least 12% and potentially 13%. A “no” vote would reject an increase in the transient occupancy tax rate to at least 12% and potentially 13%.

s/ Jeffrey A. Walter City Attorney

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE S

Vote Yes on Measure S to raise needed revenues for vital City services to be paid for by hotel visitors to the City with zero cost to Sonoma residents.

Sonoma’s existing Transient Occupancy Tax (“TOT” or “hotel tax”) is 10% of the amount of rent charged by the operator. Like most cities across California, this tax is charged to travelers when staying at a hotel, motel, or other temporary lodging accommodations for 30 days or less.

By paying the TOT, those who visit Sonoma and use the services we offer – such as our roads, water, sewer, Police and Fire – help pay for the added demand on those services.

The TOT is 21% of the City’s tax revenue and it is the only tax that does not fall on Sonoma residents to pay. The initial 2% increase in TOT is estimated to generate approximately $750,000 annually. This funding will help backfill the millions that Sonoma lost with the State’s elimination of redevelopment.

A group of the local hotel managers/owners asked the City to raise the TOT to increase funds to support Sonoma’s quality of life. Raising the TOT by 2%, from 10% to 12%, will align Sonoma with what most of our neighboring communities are charging, while keeping Sonoma hotels competitive. Sonoma is currently charging a lower TOT than all Napa jurisdictions plus unincorporated Sonoma County, Rohnert Park, Windsor, and Healdsburg that are set at 12% or higher.

Approving Measure S will raise revenues for years to come, so the City can provide premier services for our community. The City Council unanimously approved this measure and asks for residents’ approval. We strongly urge a Yes vote on Measure S.

CITY OF SONOMA
s/ Madolyn Agrimonti, Mayor

s/ Dan Parks
Owner, Inn at Sonoma

s/ Bill Lynch
Retired, Editor/Publisher

SONOMA COMMUNITY CENTERs/ Annie Bauer, Board

s/ Sam Morphy
Owner, The Red Grape

 

— Sonoma County ROV (Sample Ballot)

Arguments AGAINST

NO ARGUMENT WAS SUBMITTED AGAINST MEASURE S

— Sonoma County ROV (Sample Ballot)

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

FULL TEXT OF MEASURE SORDINANCE #_______ – 2018

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SONOMA AMENDING SECTION 3.16.030 OF CHAPTER 3.16 OF THE MUNICIPAL CODE TO INCREASE THE CITY’S TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAX RATE FROM 10% TO 12% EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2019 AND TO AUTHORIZE THE CITY COUNCIL TO INCREASE THE CITY’S TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAX RATE FROM 12% TO 13% BY JANUARY 1, 2024 SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF A MAJORITY OF THE ELECTORS VOTING ON THE TAX MEASURE AT THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION TO BE HELD ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF SONOMA DO ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. The voters of the City of Sonoma hereby find and declare as follows:

A. Pursuant to California Revenue and Taxation Code section 7280 et seq., the City of Sonoma (“City”) has the authority to levy a transient occupancy tax (“TOT”) upon the privilege of occupying a hotel, as defined in section 3.16 of the City’s Municipal Code, for a period of 30 days or less.

B. The TOT is a general tax which is deposited into the City’s General Fund. TOT represents approximately 21% of the City’s General Fund revenue. The Gen- eral Fund pays for essential City services such as police protection, fire and paramedic services, emergency preparedness, maintenance of streets and traffic operations, recreation services, maintenance of parks and open space, maintenance of City buildings and facilities, improvements and maintenance of overall City infrastructure and property, and general municipal services to the public.

C. The City of Sonoma, along with many other cities in California, was significantly impacted by the State of California’s elimination of redevelopment in 2011. The loss of this funding has reduced the City’s ability to financially support new low and moderate housing projects, infrastructure projects and other civic improvement projects.

D. The City of Sonoma’s TOT rate is currently 10%. An additional 2% assessment is collected and remitted to the Sonoma Tourism Improvement District (STID) from hotel owners, as authorized under Property and Business Improve- ment District Law of 1994 (California Streets and Highways Code §36600 et. seq.). The combined TOT and STID collection rate is therefore 12% currently.

E. The majority of public agencies in Sonoma and Napa County have a TOT rate of 12% with an additional 2-3% going to their local business or tourism improvement districts for a total of 14% when TOT and TID are combined. At this time, the City of Sonoma’s TOT rate is less than each of the following nearby jurisdictions: Sonoma County, Rohnert Park, Windsor, Healdsburg, Napa County, Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga, Napa and American Canyon.

F. The City wishes to increase its TOT from the existing 10 percent to 12 percent effective January 1, 2019 and to authorize the City Council to increase it to 13 percent by January 1, 2024, subject to voter approval, for general fund purposes.

G. The City wishes to submit the proposed TOT increase to the voters at the general municipal election on November 6, 2018.

Section 2. Section 3.16.030 of Chapter 3.16 (Transient Occupancy Tax) of the Sonoma Municipal Code is hereby amended in the manner set forth below, with additions to the text being shown in underlining and deletions from the text being shown in strikeout font:

3.16.030 Taximposed.

For the privilege of occupancy in any hotel, each transient is subject to and shall pay a tax measured by the rent charged by the operator. The tax is calculated by multiplying the rent by the tax rate, and the tax rate shall be at

all times 10 12 percent effective January 1, 2019, and may be increased by the city council to 13 percent by January 1, 2024. The tax constitutes a debt owed by the transient to the city which is extinguished only by payment to the operator. The transient shall pay the tax to the operator of the hotel at the time the rent is paid.

Section 3. An election shall be ordered to enable the voters of the City of Sonoma to approve or reject this ordinance. The date of the election shall be November 6, 2018.

Section 4. The findings for this ordinance in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) are the same as those set forth in the City’s Resolution No.__ calling for an election on this ordinance. The CEQA findings in said resolution are incorporated herein by reference.

Section 5. Severability. If any section, subsection, clause, sentence, word or phrase of this ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid and/or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of remaining portions of this ordinance. The city council declares that it would have passed and adopted this ordinance and each of the provisions thereof irrespective of the fact that any one or more such provisions, sections, subsections, phrases or clauses be declared invalid and/or unconstitutional.

Section 6. The City Clerk is hereby directed to publish this ordinance at least once, within fifteen (15) days of its adoption in a newspaper of general circulation public and circulated in the City of Sonoma.

This Ordinance relates to the levying and collecting of the City’s transient occupancy tax. The City Council, by no less than a 2/3 vote of the Council by adopting Resolution No.__, approved submission of this Ordinance to the voters at an election to be held on November 6, 2018. Upon approval by a majority of the voters of the City, and upon adoption of a resolution declaring the election results, the Mayor shall hereby be authorized to attest to the adoption of this Ordinance by the voters of the City by signing where indicated below.

This Ordinance shall take effect immediately after the date of its passage and adoption.

*************
Mayor

ATTEST:

_________________________ Rebekah Barr, MMC, City Clerk

Ordinance No. ______ was submitted to the People of the City of Sonoma at the November 6, 2018 general municipal election. It was approved by the following vote of the People:

YES: NO:

ATTEST:

_________________________ Rebekah Barr, City Clerk

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