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City Council Directs Staff to Delay Tax Ballot Measure

Post Date:04/19/2018 12:00 PM

In alignment with community feedback, the San Luis Obispo City Council on Tuesday directed staff to delay a tax increase ballot measure to support the Funding the Future of SLO initiative.

City staff engaged in an intensive public outreach campaign in March 2018 to understand citizen interest in the benefits of future projects and perspectives on various funding sources. In various community forums, voters responded they that preferred to fund projects that maintain current City services and infrastructure. This feedback is consistent with how the City currently invests Measure G, the existing ½ cent sales tax. Currently all of Measure G revenue is spent on maintaining existing levels of service and repairing existing infrastructure.

The community had the opportunity to weigh in during a community forum held March 26 and through an Open City Hall survey. Staff also engaged directly with numerous community stakeholder groups including the Downtown Association Board, Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee, Developers Roundtable and others. During the month of March there were seventeen presentations to various public bodies.

“In addition to meeting directly with community members and stakeholder groups, City staff engaged a firm to complete a statistical survey of residents’ preferences on identified projects and various funding options,” said Daryl Grigsby, Director of Public Works. “Nearly 850 community members responded, with support for a special tax measure falling short of the threshold needed.”

The Funding the Future of SLO initiative includes all those projects identified in previous planning efforts as critical in creating the City’s future. Each of those planning efforts included significant public process and Council review. The project review was initiated to meet the 2017-19 Major City Goal of Fiscal Sustainability and Responsibility, one of four goals identified by the City Council and community during the budget planning process.

Staff identified 43 projects totaling $150 million over twenty years essentially maintain existing City infrastructure. These projects will be funded primarily through the existing Local Revenue Measure (Measure G) and the state Gas Tax increase (SB1).

An additional 73 projects totaling $418 million over twenty years will significantly enhance  existing infrastructure (such as replacement of Police Headquarters) or is a new project adding to to the existing city infrastructure (such as Prado Road Overpass). This list of projects is unfunded, and fit into the categories of transportation, community improvement and public facilities. Since priority goes toward maintaining existing infrastructure, there are no current projected revenues available sufficient to fund these projects.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, City staff will work to refine  projects and will return to Council as part of the 2019-21 Financial Plan with a prioritized project list, a community engagement plan and any other recommendations.

CONTACT: Daryl Grigsby, Director of Public Works
dgrigsby@slocity.org; 805-781-7207