Lake County "Healthy Lake Tax" Sales Tax, Measure L (June 2014)

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A Lake County "Healthy Lake Tax" Sales Tax, Measure L ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in Lake County, California, where it was defeated.[1]

This measure would have authorized the county to impose an additional sales tax of 0.5 percent for 10 years, dubbed the "Healthy Lake Tax," in order to fund the eradication of weeds, algae and invasive mussels from Clear Lake, the restoration of wetlands in the county and the improvement of water quality.[2]

A two-thirds supermajority vote was required for the approval of Measure L.

Election results

Measure L
Defeatedd No5,25934.8%
Yes 9,873 65.2%
Election results from County of Lake Registrar

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[2]

Shall Article VI be added to Chapter 18 of the Lake County Code imposing a one-half of one percent (0.50%) transaction and use tax (sales tax) to implement a Healthy Lake Tax for the County of Lake for a maximum period of ten (10) years with all revenues locked-in exclusively to combat aquatic weeds, algae, invasive mussels, and fund wet land restoration and water quality projects with an expenditure plan with citizen oversight for revenues generated?[3]

Impartial analysis

The office of the county counsel prepared the following impartial analysis of Measure L:[2]

If approved by two-thirds of the voters voting thereon, Measure “L” would authorize the County of Lake (the “County”) to levy a transactions and use tax for the purpose of providing funds to be used solely and exclusively for the Lake County Water Quality, Aquatic Invasive Species, and Nuisance Aquatic Weed and Algae Programs. The tax would be applicable through out the entire county, including the incorporated and unincorporated areas.

California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 7285.5 permits a County Board of Supervisors to levy, increase, or extend a transactions and use tax (a sales tax) for a specific purpose so long as the ordinance proposing the tax is approved by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Supervisors, and then subsequently approved by a two-thirds vote of the voters.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has unanimously determined to propose to the electorate of the County that a sales tax for those specific purposes described above be imposed and has adopted an ordinance for that purpose.

If approved by the voters, proceeds from this tax would be collected by the California State Board of Equalization and deposited in the County Treasury in a special fund entitled the “Water Quality, Aquatic Invasive Species and Aquatic Weed and Algae Prevention and Control Fund” (here in after, the “Fund”) which would be managed and administered by the Lake County Water shed Protection District.

The measure would also establish an Expenditure Plan, which governs how the funds raised by the sales tax can be spent. Since this is a special purpose tax, monies can be spent only for the purposes set out in the measure and the Expenditure Plan. The only pro grams which will be funded by the Expenditure Plan are the

Water Quality Programs, the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pro grams, and the Nuisance Aquatic Weeds and Algae Pro gram.

The measure requires that the County Auditor-Controller conduct or cause to be conducted by an independent auditor an annual audit of the fund and to publish those findings on the County’s official website. An Oversight Committee comprised of County residents is required to be established and the Oversight Committee must annually report to the Board of Supervisors whether the revenues expended from the Fund conform to the purposes specified in the measure. The Auditor-Controller shall be authorized under this measure to ex pend up to one percent of the revenues generated by this tax to cover administrative expenses. All remaining revenues generated by this tax will be used exclusively to fund those programs described in the Expenditure Plan.

If two-thirds of the qualified electors voting on this measure vote “yes,” the tax will be imposed at a rate of one-half of one per cent (0.50%) on sales and use of tangible personal property for a period of ten (10) years in addition to the existing sales and use tax.

If less than two-thirds of the qualified electors vote for approval of this measure, it will fail and the proposed transactions and use tax will not be levied within the County. [3]

—Anita L. Grant, Lake County Counsel[2]

Full text

The full text of the county ordinance enacted by Measure L is available here.


"Yes on L" campaign banner


The official campaign in favor of Measure L is called Save the Lake.[4]

The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure L:[2]

  • Bill Brunetti
  • Kelly F. Cox, retired county administrator
  • Dr. Harry Lyons, biology professor
  • Peter McGee, ranch manager/firefighter
  • Wilda Shock

Arguments in favor

The following was submitted as the official argument in favor of Measure L:[2]

Measure L is responsible local legislation that establishes a countywide half-cent sales tax to pay for the preservation and protection of Clear Lake, our community’s greatest asset.

The money raised can be used ONLY to pay for specific projects benefiting the lake, according to a detailed expenditure plan incorporated into the ordinance, which has the force of law. Measure L will provide funding for:

  • reducing the severe negative impact that noxious algae blooms and nuisance aquatic weeds have on our quality of life, attraction for visitors, and broader economy;
  • keeping destructive quagga mussels and other invasive species from devastating Clear Lake and other county water ways;
  • paying the county’s share of the crucial Middle Creek Marsh and other wetland restoration projects;
  • funding mandated water quality programs not fully paid for by state and federal agencies.

These critical program provide the means to manage, protect, and in vest in our most precious resource - Clear Lake. With out Measure L, we have no plausible source of funding to meet these needs.

All Measure L revenues will stay right here in Lake County. They cannot for any reason be diverted to any other purposes. A citizens over sight committee with representation from a broad variety of community organizations will review the expenditure plan in advance every year. An annual independent audit will insure that money is spent as directed in the ordinance. A sunset clause means that the measure will expire in ten years.

Passage of Measure L will fund vital lake programs with dedicated local revenues. It will also send a signal the Lake County is open for business, and help our economy grow by attracting visitors and capital investment. [3]

—Bill Brunetti, Kelly F. Cox, Dr. Harry Lyons, Peter McGee and Wilda Shock[2]


No official arguments in opposition to Measure L were submitted. If you have an argument that you would like to see posted here, please email the Local Ballot Measures Project staff writer.

See also

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