City Tax Measures of El Cerrito

It is important for the residents of El Cerrito to understand all of the city based taxes we pay (well important to understand them all but I am focused on city taxes).

Measure R

Measure R-the first version was a sales tax increase of .5 cents for 7 years. It passed in November of 2010.

Per the city’s website ” In November 2014, El Cerrito voters approved the extension of Measure R at the one percent sales tax rate for twelve years to enable the City to maintain the current level of program and services offered. The new sales tax rate went into effect on April 1, 2015 and will sunset (end) on March 31, 2027. Read more about Measure R” There was some controversy at the time as to whether or not the city advertising on the issue brought up the idea that this was an additional .5 cent raise to the sales tax, not just an extension.

Ballopedia raised some issues on the original measure. The $21,717 that was raised to fund the tax was largely supported by unions representing city employees. The city spent $8,000 also to push the passage of the tax.

The full description of the Measure is

“To continue to protect/ maintain City services, including fire 
prevention/ emergency services; emergency response times; 
neighborhood police patrols; firefighter/ police staffing; crime 
prevention/ investigation resources; after-school programs; 
library hours/ programs; senior services; open space, parks, 
paths/ playfields; other general City services, shall El Cerrito 
extend the existing voter-approved sales tax and set the future
rate at one cent for 12 years, with citizens’ oversight, annual 
audits, and all funds staying local, none to Sacramento

There was an East Bay Times article at the time criticizing the language of the measure.

Utility User Tax

Utility User Tax-this was reaffirmed in 2004 and is collected by the different utilities and remitted to El Cerrito on a monthly basis. It is an 8% tax on electricity, gas, water, video, and telephone, including wireless. The city’s information on it is found here.

Measure J Storm Drains

Measure J Storm Drain was based in March 1993. This was to issue bonds not to exceed 6.3 million to improve the storm drains in the city. The rate for a single resident home is $52. The most recent report on the city’s website is from 2015/2016.

Measure A-Swim Center

In March 2000 the voters passed Measure A fund the renovation and reconstruction of the Swim Center, the rehabilitation of Canyon Trail Clubhouse, and the performance of access and restroom renovations to the Harding, Huber, and Poinsett Park Clubhouses. This is for 58.46 per single family. The city’s information on this is found here. See also Measure H below.

Landscape and Lighting District

In 1988 the city passed a Lighting and Landscape District The city’s website states the following

“On June 6, 1988, the City Council established Assessment District No. 1988-1 pursuant to the Landscape and Lighting Act of 1972. The purpose of this Landscape and Lighting Assessment District (or “LLAD”) is to raise funds to support improvements and maintenance of the City’s park areas, landscaping areas, and street lighting. Every year since 1988, this Assessment District has generated approximately $771,000 to support LLAD activities.”

“In order to impose this annual assessment, the City Council must annually authorize an Engineer’s Report to identify the costs, uses, and general benefits of those parcels within the Assessment District. As detailed in the Engineer’s Report, the revenues are used for eligible activities including staff salaries and wages, streetlight maintenance, utility costs for the District, landscaping services, graffiti removal, and park maintenance.” 

The most recent engineers report found on the city website is from 2013/2014.

Measure H

This measure extends Measure A above, which was due to expire in June 2020. The current Measure has NO expiration date. While again the money is for Parks and Recreation only it does allow the money to also go for maintenance which was not something widely publized at the time. It did pass overwhelmingly as it needed a 2/3rds majority and it received over $78 yes votes. Here is the city’s page on this measure and also Ballotpedia’s page. At the time the East Bay Times came out strongly against the measure.

Measure A

This measure provided for a .5 cent sales tax increase to improve the roads When this measure was passed in 2008 El Cerrito had some of the worst roads in the state. The city’s website says this

“Prior to 2008, the City faced a backlog of street maintenance and repairs. The Measure A accelerated work plan was a multi-year , intensive pothole and street repair program designed to rapidly improve El Cerrito’s street system and to complete the repairs in the most efficient and quickest way possible. The Measure A accelerated work plan involved repairing or resurfacing at least 70% of local streets in El Cerrito within four years. The pavement resurfacing treatment (Asphalt Overlay or Inlay, Cape Seal or Slurry Seal) was chosen for each street based on pavement condition and economic factors.”

It does appear that this measure has been a success in improving roads.

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