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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
Local

City of Paso Robles
Measure K-18 Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Failed

5,200 votes yes (46.72%)

5,929 votes no (53.28%)

100% of precincts reporting (14/14).

11,780 ballots counted.

Imposition of Sales Tax
— undefined

To upgrade deteriorating streets and sidewalks; and address other general revenue purposes; shall a measure be adopted approving an ordinance establishing a one-half of one percent sales tax providing approximately $4,750,000 annually for 6 years, requiring annual audits, quarterly reports to the public by a citizens oversight committee, and using all funds within Paso Robles only?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

A “yes” vote on Measure K will authorize the one-half of one percent (0.5%) increase in sales tax.

NO vote means

A “no” vote on Measure K will not authorize the one-half of one percent (0.5%) increase in sales tax.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

IRIS YANG City Attorney

Measure K, if approved by a majority of Paso Robles voters, will add Chapter 3.11 to the El Paso de Robles Municipal Code and establish a one-half of one percent (0.5%) sales tax within the city.  The tax would be paid in addition to current sales taxes and would be collected at the same time and in the same manner as existing sales taxes. 

Measure K would be a “general tax.”  Consequently, all revenue generated from the proposed sales tax would be available for use by the City to pay for general City operations and services, including the repair and maintenance of city streets and sidewalks, public safety and other city services.  While the City would not be bound in any way to use the tax monies for any special purpose or for any particular facilities or programs, Measure K requires the establishment of a Citizens Oversight Committee to make recommendations to the City Council on the use of the funds generated by the tax established by Measure K and to ensure that the money is spent on what the people want.  Since this ballot measure proposes a “general tax” rather than a “special purpose tax,” it requires approval by a simple majority of the City’s voters.

In addition, a companion advisory measure on the ballot asks voters if the additional revenues generated by Measure K, if it is approved, should be used primarily for the purpose of repairing and maintaining the City’s streets and sidewalks.  If approved, Measure K is anticipated to raise approximately $4,750,000 annually.

The sales tax authorized by Measure K would terminate automatically on the sixth (6th) anniversary of its operative date, unless extended by the voters of the city.  The measure was placed on the ballot by the City Council.

A “yes” vote on Measure K will authorize the one-half of one percent (0.5%) increase in sales tax.

A “no” vote on Measure K will not authorize the one-half of one percent (0.5%) increase in sales tax.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Vote yes on Measure K to increase funding for the maintenance and repair of streets, bridges, sidewalks, and other essential infrastructure in Paso Robles. Measure K will raise approximately $4.75M per year. One-half percent is only 50¢ on every $100 of taxable purchases.  Approximately 40% of the proceeds will come from visitors. 

The City has achieved much success in controlling costs by reducing positions, negotiating employee cost-sharing, and contracting with private companies when cost-effective.  But our decades of underfunded infrastructure and public safety needs have caught up with us.  The existing half-percent sales tax is helping get our roads into good shape; but it is not enough. Measure K, along with additional efficiencies and significant economic development efforts, will help bridge the long-standing gap in funding.

We know from multiple surveys and regular resident feedback that improving our streets, bridges, sidewalks, and public safety infrastructure is of great importance to residents.  Measure K will help fund residents’ priorities and help us maintain the quality of life we all want.  Measure K will end in 6 years. 

Measure K requires audits and citizen oversight, ensuring that the money is being spent on what the people want.  It also requires quarterly reporting to all citizens. Measure K requires that all Measure K funding be used only in the City of Paso Robles, so it cannot be taken by the state or federal governments. 

Please join community and business leaders in supporting YES on Measure K.

s/ Steve Martin, Mayor            s/ Steve Gregory, Mayor Pro-Tem          s/ Nick Gilman

s/ Larry Werner                       s/ Joel Peterson

Arguments AGAINST

Why VOTE NO on Measure K-18?

REASON 1: Measure K-18 would have Citizens believe they’re voting on whether or not to approve a “general tax.” To the contrary, it appears to be a “special tax” measure that requires 2/3 voter approval for adoption.

Under California State Law, Article XIII C Sec. 1(d), a special tax is “any tax imposed for specific purposes, including a tax imposed for specific purposes, which is placed into a general fund.” The proposed Measure, using audits and reports, explicitly intends to serve specific purposes:  “To upgrade deteriorating streets and sidewalks.” Please VOTE NO to secure funds for these purposes and protect your right to a special tax vote.

REASON 2: The most current “Supplemental Sales Tax Revenue & Expense” report on the City’s website when Measure K-18 was decided by City Council to appear on the ballot showed $21.77 million collected for street upgrades, $17.2 million in street expenses, and $10.9 million committed-to-date. Assuming at least the same amount collected from Citizens over the next 6 years by the ½ cent sales tax adopted in 2012, future revenue ($21.77+ million) certainly seems sufficient to finish work on planned City street & sidewalk upgrades. CLEARLY, by the numbers, the proposed sales tax increase is UNNECESSARY at this time.

REASON 3: Are you tired of the rising cost of your water bill? Do you oppose construction of thousands of new homes in Paso Robles, which according to Taussig & Associates adds 13,252 new residents? Do you oppose significantly more downtown traffic congestion should a now unfunded $26 million conference center be built in the City? Or believe CalPers should be self-funding, rather than rely on taxpayers to fill the gap in underfunded City pension fund liabilities? Then VOTE NO on Measure K-18!

s/ Jim Reed, Paso Robles City Councilman             s/ John Borst, Resident of Paso Robles

s/ John Texeira, Resident of Paso Robles       s/ Charles “Chip” Tamagni      s/ Rachel Tamagni

Replies to Arguments FOR

The argument favoring Measure K-18 is a clever, even propagandized message supported by misleading phrases, platitudes and vague assertions. It provides neither key data or concrete information sufficient to justify a “Yes” vote. For example, what is the dollar amount of the “long-standing funding gap”? If the alleged “gap” hasn’t closed under the existing sales tax, City officials must not be up to the serious task of controlling costs or cutting expenditures. Taxing Citizens again for City officials’ poor planning and mismanagement of taxpayers’ money is outrageously wrong. Assuming “visitors” might pay up to 40% of tax proceeds is unrealistic and won’t solve a mismanagement problem.

Don’t be fooled by the “Yes” argument. K-18 has been “packaged” upfront by well paid political consultants FM3, who along with the argument signers, will likely boast of their ability to overcome Citizens’ resistance should the sales tax pass. Also, surprisingly absent as signers of the Argument in Favor are Paso Robles City Manager Tom Frutchey and 3 City Council members.  If they’re not signing the ballot argument, why should you vote “yes”?

K-18 is an estimated $28.5 million carte blanche tax hike for City officials, has questionable legality as a “general tax,” and offers no needed funding benefit to our town’s Citizens beyond the ½ cent sales tax now in effect. Measure K-18 deserves defeat. In support of Citizens seeking to actually preserve the quality of life in Paso Robles AND wanting better City governance & financial accountability, VOTE NO on Measure K-18.

s/ Jim Reed, Paso Robles City Councilman    s/ John Borst, Resident of Paso Robles

s/ John Texeira, Resident of Paso Robles      s/ Chip Tamagni, Resident       s/ Rachel Tamagni

 

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Special Tax vs. General.  Measure K is a general tax measure; revenue generated will be available for use by the City to pay for general City operations and services. The companion advisory Measure N, however, advises current and future City Councils to use Measure K proceeds to maintain and repair streets, bridges, and sidewalks in Paso Robles. This same approach was used for the 2012 sales tax measure.  Citizen oversight has proven full compliance with the voters’ direction. 

Funding.  Measure K will raise approximately $4.75M/year; one-half percent is only 50¢ on a $100 purchase.  Added to the existing proceeds from the 2012 measure, this will accelerate street repairs. Additional funding will still need to come from economic development and further cost-cutting measures. 

Water rates.  Water revenues must be used solely to provide water services; they cannot be used for other purposes.

Conference Center and CalPERS.  The City supports the proposed Conference Center, but it is not a City project. The City has been aggressively paying down its CalPERS obligations and will continue to do so.  Measure K revenues will not be used for these purposes.

If Measures K&N are approved, it will be a strong message to the City that voters want the funds used for “maintaining and repairing streets, bridges, and sidewalks in Paso Robles” and not to support other uses. The City Council has a track record of honoring those desires.    

Please vote “yes” for Measure K!

s/ Nick Gilman, Architect          s/ Fred Louis B. Strong, City Council Member

s/ Christian E. Iversen             s/ Matt McClish                        s/ Thomas Frutchey, City Manager

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