As Santa Rosa plans for the future of our City, we wanted to update you on the City’s effort to maintain its long-term financial stability.
During the Great Recession and amid over $25,000,000 in State takeaways, the City has responsibly managed its budget with long-term community priorities and fiscal sustainability in mind. Over the past several months, a Long Term Financial Policy subcommittee has studied ways to protect the services the community has indicated are important, while keeping the city’s fiscal prudence in mind.
On August 9, 2016, the Santa Rosa City Council unanimously voted to place measures O and N on the November ballot for voter consideration. If enacted by voters, Measures O and N would provide the budget update and funding necessary to address long-time financial issues, without raising tax rates. Please take a moment to review our frequently asked questions.
Santa Rosa City Manager
Measure O Amendment Description
Measure O is a special tax passed by the voters in 2004. The measure provides funding to Police, Fire and Gang Prevention/Intervention Programs. The funding is split 40% each to Police and Fire and 20% to Gang Prevention/Intervention. The measure requires a General Fund minimum funding level for each of these programs, called the “baseline” funding. Measure O set the baseline at the 2004 budget level for each program and increased that baseline dollar amount annually by the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”).
The City Council wishes to amend the General Fund baseline requirement to remove the set dollar amounts under Measure O, and replace them with a set percentage of the General Fund budget. The set percentage was determined to be the percentage that was budgeted for the 2015-16 fiscal year. After discussions with the affected departments, the City concluded the budgets, although not ideal, were adequate to meet the departments’ needs.
This Amendment provides the General Fund more flexibility in budgeting for these programs as economic fluctuations occur providing for continuation of services for all General Fund programs and ensuring equal treatment for all programs going forward.
If the Measure passes, the General Fund will be required to budget these programs at the following percentages:
Measure N Description
Measure N continues existing, voter-approved local sales tax funding to protect our quality of life services – including streets, parks, youth and senior programs, and public safety services.
Specifically, the Measure proposes to extend the duration of a ¼ cent sales tax within the City of Santa Rosa. This ¼ cent sales tax was originally adopted by Santa Rosa voters in November 2010, and is currently due to expire on March 31, 2019. If Measure N is adopted by Santa Rosa voters the new expiration date would be March 31, 2027.
Sales tax collected by the City may be used for general operations and programs commonly referred to as quality of life services. This measure provides the General Fund the ability to maintain budgeting for these programs, thereby maintaining the quality of and access to City services.
There are no pre-determined requirements for how Measure N funds must be budgeted. The process of budgeting the General Fund begins in March with community outreach and participation, and culminates at City Council during the Budget Hearings, which are open to the public and include time for public comment.