City of Santa Cruz parcel tax, Measure E (November 2008)

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The Santa Cruz beach parcel tax, Measure E was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Santa Cruz County for voters in the City of Santa Cruz.[1]

The measure mandates a $28 parcel tax for single-family parcels, $94 for other developed parcels, and $10 for undeveloped parcels. It is expected to raise $700,000/annually. To pass, it needed a 2/3rds vote.

Measure E was approved with 76.02% of the vote.

Arguments for Measure E

We love Santa Cruz for its beaches, ocean and natural beauty. Our local economy and community's health depend on protecting this beautiful environment.

Each year our streets and parking areas produce pollutants which enter the river and ocean. It's time to prevent and treat this pollution in order to protect our public health, fish and wildlife.

  • Measure E will help keep our water clean, protect our children and families, and reduce contamination of our river, beaches and ocean by dangerous bacteria and toxic substances.
  • Measure E will improve our storm drains and reduce stormwater pollution before it reaches the beaches and the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary.
  • Measure E will help prevent pollution in the San Lorenzo River, provide for removing trash and debris, and help restore its natural environment.
  • Measure E keeps ocean waters cleaner for surfers, swimmers, and all ocean activities.

Strict new state regulations have increased the requirements for clean-up of beaches and ocean pollution. Measure E allows our community to continue its leadership in protecting our beaches, ocean and river. Without Measure E, cuts in other vital services will need to be made as the City fulfills these new requirements.

Measure E is an investment in our community's future. It will fund engineering, cleaning and restoration projects to ensure that our commitment to clean ocean, beaches and river continues for future generations.

All the funds raised by Measure E will be subject to review by an independent Citizen's Oversite Committee, and will be spent in our community.

Surf City needs your help. Join us in voting Yes on Measure E to protect the unique and priceless environment we call home.

Vote Yes on Measure E -- for today and the future.

s/ Jack O'Neill O'Neill Wetsuits, O'Neill Sea Odyssey s/ Laura J. Kasa Executive Director, Save Our Shores s/ Joseph Marini President Marinis At The Beach s/ Lisa C. Sloan Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences; Director, Climate Change and Impacts Laboratory s/ Fred Keeley Trustee, California Ocean Science Trust

Arguments against Measure E

Arguments against Measure E are:

  • The measure is written in a non-specific way, so taxpayers don't know what they'd actually get if it passes.
  • "The City already imposes a Fee to fund stormwater runoff projects. The "Santa Cruz City Storm Water Enterprise Utility Fee" has been on our property tax bills since 1994. It has been used to improve San Lorenzo River bridges and levees, but it has not produced any visible storm water pollution abatement. Now that the bridges and levees are restored, this existing Fee should fund stormwater projects, as originally promised. The new Tax is a ruse to get additional money, on top of the existing levy, without any specific improvement guarantee."
  • "Runoff is largely caused by factors such as parcel size, area covered by buildings and pavement. The existing Fee recognizes this through a non-single-family dwelling rate of $261.08 per acre. The proposed new Tax is arbitrary and does not consider parcel size."
  • Measure E "imposes the Tax for the fiscal year which began last July, even though voters will not vote on it until November. The retroactive imposition of the tax violates the constitutional provision (Art. 13C) that no Special Tax may be imposed until approved by the voters."

- Aldo Gianncho

Rebuttal to arguments against Measure E

Respected voices from business, environmental and community organizations agree; Measure E demonstrates sound planning for environmental protection. Over the years, Santa Cruz has made steady progress in protecting our river, ocean and beaches, based on thorough environmental and engineering work plus extensive public process. Measure E will fund NEW environmental cleanup measures required by the California Water Quality Board and Federal Environmental Protection Agency. The existing Stormwater Fee has a dual purpose: flood control and stormwater cleanup. Since 1994 this fee has helped fund San Lorenzo River levee improvements, reconstruction of bridges to reduce flooding hazard, and related projects. $4.5 million generated by this fee has leveraged over $60 million in state and federal funds to benefit our community and environment. Unfortunately, inflation since 1994 has severely limited the existing Stormwater Fee’s ability to fund new, necessary water quality measures. The City has developed a detailed Stormwater Management Program for future work. (http://www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/pw/Stormwater2008/index.html,) With State approval, this plan will guide spending of Measure E funds. Measure E is fiscally responsible. It creates a separate fund to ensure that revenues are spent appropriately. An independent Citizens Oversight Committee ensures the cost-effectiveness of required pollution prevention and cleanup. And contrary to opponents’ claims, Measure E is not retroactive; it won’t appear on tax statements until 2009. The modest flat rate structure reflects shared responsibility for water cleanup costs. It’s a reasonable solution for necessary protection of our watersheds, river, beaches and ocean.

Vote YES on E. s/ Dan Haifley Co-chair, Clean Water Campaign s/ Mary Silver Prof. UCSC-Ocean Sciences s/ Laura Kasa Executive Director, Save Our Shores s/ Stefano Carniglia Owner Carniglia's on the Wharf s/ Nik Strong-Cvetich Associate Director Coastal Watershed Council

See also

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