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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election

The Chula Vista One-Half Cent Transaction and Use Tax OrdinanceOrdinance

Local
June 5, 2018California Primary Election

City of Chula Vista
Measure A Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

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THE CHULA VISTA ONE-HALF CENT TRANSACTION AND USE TAX ORDINANCE

Shall the measure to provide: faster responses to 9-1-1 emergency calls, increase neighborhood police patrols, reduce gang and drug-related crimes, address homelessness, improve firefighter, paramedic and emergency medical response, and general city services, by enacting a ½ cent sales tax, until the voters decide otherwise, generating an estimated $17 million annually for City services, with all funds staying in Chula Vista, with citizen oversight and independent audits, be adopted?

Background

(This measure is submitted to the voters by the City Council, pursuant to Resolution 2018-023.)

— City Clerk, City of Chula Vista

Impartial analysis / Proposal

City Attorney Impartial Analysis - Measure A

Summary
If approved by voters, Measure A would impose a one-half cent ($.005) "transactions and use tax" (commonly known as a "sales tax") on retail sales within the City of Chula Vista. The tax would remain in place unless and until the voters repealed it. The City's Finance Director estimates the tax would generate approximately $17 million per year. The City Council has expressed its intent to spend these monies exclusively on critical needs of the City's police and fire departments. However, because the tax is a "general purpose" tax, the City Council would reserve the right to spend the tax revenues for any lawful City purpose. Measure A also includes provisions for separate accounting and citizen oversight.

Authority and Method of Assessment
Measure A's sales tax would be levied under state law (Revenue and Taxation Code Section 7285.9). As such, it would be assessed and collected as a percentage of gross receipts from retail sales (and other taxable uses) occurring withint the City in the same manner as the existing state sales tax. The current sales tax rate in Chula Vista is 8.25%. This includes an existing local sales tax of 0.5% that was approved by Chula Vista voters in 2016. This local tax is scheduled to expire in 2026. If the proposed Measure A sales tax were approved, the sales tax rate in the City would increase to 8.75%. The tax revenues generated from the additional 0.5% would go to the City (less a state administrative fee), and could only be spent for City purposes. If approved, the tax would commence on October 1, 2018.

Provisions for Intended Expenditures
Concurrent with its approval of Measure A for placement on the ballot, the City Council adopted an "Intended Public Safety Expenditure Plan" ("Plan") for Measure A revenues. By doing so, the City Council expressed its intent to spend Measure A sales tax revenues exclusively on the critical staffing needs of the City's police and fire departments, including necessary equipment. Measure A requires City staff to present for City Council action, requests for budgeting of police and fire personnel, and related equipment, consistent with the plan. Each year thereafter, City staff would be required to prepare a "Measure A Spending Plan" that is consistent with the Plan, and present it for City Council consideration, in its discretion, as part of the City's annual budget. A copy of the Plan is available on the City website at www.chulavistaca.gov/publicsafety.

Separate Accounting and Citizens' Oversight
Measure A includes requirements for separate accounting, budgeting and auditing of tax collections and expenditures. It also requires creation of a citizens' oversight committee ("COC"). The COC woudl be responsible for reviewing and reporting on Measure A annual accounting and spending plans, and compliance with those plans.

General Purpose Tax
The City Council is submitting Measure A to the voters as a "general purpose tax." This means that a majority of the voters must approve the Measure for it to go into effect. Although this City Council has expressed its intent to spend Measure A revenues exclusively on public safety needs, such as police and fire personnel and equipment, the City Council will retain discretion to spend the revenues generated for any lawful municipal purpose.

[stamped]

RECEIVED
CHULA VISTA CITY CLERK
2018 MAR 16 P 4:27

[Transcribed from http://www.chulavistaca.gov/home/showdocument?id=16554 ]

— City Attorney, City of Chula Vista

Arguments FOR

YES ON A

Chula Vista spends 66% of its budget on Fire and Police, clearly making the protection of life and property our top priority. Our police and firefighters do an amazing job of keeping our community one of the safest in the country, but they are stretched thin.

In 2007 we had 259 cops. Today we have 232, even though our population has grown by 50,000. This has slowed down response times. Measure A will enable us to respond quicker to all 9-1-1 calls, add school officers and increase patrols to make our streets safer.

We have only three firefighters on every engine. But, to immediately attack a fire, we need a minimum of four firefighters at a scene. Adding a firefighter on each engine will help us fight fires immediately and better protect Chula Vista families. Measure A will also help establish two-person squads to respond more quickly to medical emergencies.

That's why we are asking you to invest in our safety with Measure A. Our police officers and firefighters are working for us every day, but they need our help. We have fewer police officers per captia than every other city in California, except one. We have half of the firefighters per capita than the national average.

Measure A will help us hire 43 new cops, dispatchers, school officers and investigators, along with 36 new firefighters. You will see improved response times and increased patrols to keep Chula Vista one of America's safest cities.

This is a wise investment and a small price to pay for the safety of our families, and with citizen oversight and transparency, we know exactly how our money is being spent.

Join our Police Officers, Firefighters, and Civic Leaders and VOTE YES ON A!

[SIGNED]

MARY CASILLAS SALAS, Mayor

ROXANA KENNEDY, Chief of Police

JIM GEERING, Fire Chief

 

Link to original document: http://www.chulavistaca.gov/home/showdocument?id=16558

— City Clerk, City of Chula Vista

Arguments AGAINST

Chula Vista Taxpayers oppose Prop A

How much more can we take? Our Chula Vista sales tax was increased barely a year ago. If this goes through, Chula Vista will tie for the MOST expensive sales tax in SD County! This is on top of the gas tax! Don't we already pay enough? California is experiencing a mass exodus - because many people cannot afford to live here anymore!

California ranks last in Quality of Life! People are working harder and longer to pay for family expenses, taxes and Mello Roos with less quality of life to show for it. It's not fair that our neighbors with the least money will suffer the most from a sales tax increase. How can we do that to them?

Misleading Advertising! This increase is being sold to us as being earmarked for Public Safety, but the TRUTH is that in paragraph 3.33.150 of the proposed Ordinance it states that the "proceeds from the tax ... shall be for unrestricted general revenue purposes". So the City of Chula Vista can use this money for any lawful purpose. Can we trust future politicians to do what today's politicians are promising us?

There is no end date! To terminate this tax will require another vote - does anyone believe city hall will ever call for that vote? The City of Chula Vista already spends 67% of the budget on Public Safety with pensions and benefits. Before WE taxpayers consider paying more, let's demand the City of Chula Vista do pension reform. Chula Vista taxpayers cannot afford to keep bailing out the city leadership.

Don't fall for the argument about safety! That money can and will go to anything city hall wants to spend it on!

Chula Vistans can't afford this tax! For information: www.NoOnA.com [sic; URL seems to be incorrect--link does not work as of 4/8/2018]

[SIGNED]

LARRY BREITFELDER-NAVAS, President, Chula Vista Taxpayers Association

THERESA ACERRO, Founding President of Southwest Chula Vista Civic Association

PAULA WHITSELL, 3rd Ave. Small Business Owner

RUSS HALL, Former Planning Commissioner / Teacher

 

Link to original document: http://www.chulavistaca.gov/home/showdocument?id=16556

— City Clerk, City of Chula Vista

Replies to Arguments FOR

Rebuttal Measure A

We do not have to raise our sales tax to spend more on public safety. There are other ways to get this money. The City of Chula Vista is spending about 14% of its General Fund budget on pensions, and this number continues to climb. The City could dedicate more money to police and fire if pension payments did not eat up so much of our resources! City leadership should finish reforming our pension system before asking us taxpayers to take on more burdens.

The money rasied does not have to be spent on public safety. The City is not legally required to invest this money in our Police and Fire Departments.

There is no clear end date! Once it begins, the people of Chula Vista would have to vote to terminate this tax. The oversight committee that reviews how these funds are spent can be disbanded after certain needs are met. Why doesn't this measure include a similar expiration for the tax itself?

We support the important job our Police and Fire Departments do for our community. Because of their service, Chula Vista stands out as one of the safest cities in the United States. Additional resources for these departments, however, must come from solutions we can pay for!

Chula Vista is facing the HIGHEST SALES TAX in San Diego County! We cannot afford more taxes without proper protections for taxpayers! JUST SAY NO to Measure A!

www.JustSayNoOnA.com [sic; URL seems to be incorrect--link does not work as of 4/8/2018]

[SIGNED]

LARRY BREITFELDER-NAVAS, President, Chula Vista Taxpayers Association

THERESA ACERRO, Founding President, SWCVCA

PAULA WHITSELL, 3rd Ave. Small Business Owner

RUSS HALL, Former Planning Commissioner

 

Link to original document: https://www.chulavistaca.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=16576

— City Clerk, City of Chula Vista

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

REBUTTAL TO THE ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE A

We are proud fiscal conservatives who will always stand up for what's right in our community, and we are supporting Measure A.

For the past three years, bipartisan city leadership has worked to correct the failed response times and understaffing of our police and fire departments from previous administrations. In that time, we only had the resources to add seven police officers, one park ranger and 12 firefighters, yet we still have the worst-staffed fire department in the state and the worst-staffed police department in the county.

We have cut 300 positions since 2007. We reformed pensions so that new hires pay a higher share and retire at an older age, allowing us to reduce costs. But that is not enough. 

The city is working to diversify and increase revenues--three hotels in eastern Chula Vista, new industrial and commercial developments and finally the development of our Bayfront. While this is in progress, the revenues will take time to materialize.

We need Measure A to pay for 43 police personnel and 36 firefighters today. We are committed to maintaining transparency and accountability with a citizens' oversight committee that will ensure every dollar is spent wisely and only to address public safety.

Chula Vista is a safe city--but we need your help to make it safer.

As fiscal conservatives, we urge you to stand with us to keep Chula Vista a great place to raise our families. Please join us, our FIREFIGHTERS, AND POLICE OFFICERS AND VOTE YES ON A.

[SIGNED]

MIKE DIAZ, Councilmember

DAVID BEJARANO, Police Chief (Retired)

JOHN McCANN, Councilmember

 

Link to Original Document: http://www.chulavistaca.gov/home/showdocument?id=16574

— City Clerk, City of Chula Vista

Proposed legislation

[See the documents hosted by the City Clerk of the City of Chula Vista, here.]

Yes on Measure A
No on Measure A
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