"MEASURE A" TOWN HALL MEETING
Please join us for the next Measure A Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 5:00 pm, in the City Hall Council Chambers located at 117 Macneil Street, San Fernando, CA 91340.
At the Town Hall Meeting, you will:
- Receive a presentation of the FY 2018-2019 Measure A Annual report of revenues and uses,
- Be advised of planned FY 2019-2020 Measure A revenues and uses, and
- Have an opportunity to provide feedback to City Council regarding uses for Measure A funds in FY 2020-2021.
LOCAL TRANSACTION & SALES TAX
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
After declaring a fiscal emergency in June 2013, 60% of San Fernando voters approved an additional 0.5% local Sales Tax (Measure A), resulting in a 10% total Sales Tax in San Fernando. Consequently, the City currently receives 1.5% of the 10% Transaction Tax. To put this into perspective, for every $1.00 in Sales Tax paid in San Fernando, the City receives 15 cents and state/County agencies receive the remaining 85 cents.
Since voter approval of the local Sales Tax (Measure A) in 2013, funds have been used to:
- Decrease the General Fund deficit from ($5.7 million) in 2014 to a reserve of $1.8 million as of June 30, 2019.
- Improve public safety reliability and response time by replacing eleven (11) police patrol vehicles, upgrading all in-car computers, and purchasing voice recorders for all patrol officers.
- Resurface 5+ miles of streets including: Alexander Street, Huntington Street, Library Street, San Fernando Road, and the upcoming reconstruction of Glenoaks Boulevard. (include link to PW major projects page that has the resurfacing projects)
- Beautify Brand Boulevard to create a notable entrance into the City.
- Replace and repair more than 43,000 square feet of sidewalks and install 77 ADA compliant curb ramps with truncated domes.
- Construct “Safe Routes to School” measures to increase safety for children walking and biking to school.
- Support a number of special events, including Dia de los Muertos 5k run, San Fernando Open Streets Festival, and Summer JAM sessions.
- Upgrade the tot lot and gymnasium at Recreation Park and facility improvements at Las Palmas Park, Pioneer Park and Layne Park.
- Create an award-winning website and significantly increased social media presence to better inform the community.
- Replace the City’s outdated network equipment and software to protect customer information and increase efficiency.
- Increase economic development activity, including hiring a consultant to market City-owned property for potential future development.
- Increase Citywide tree trimming.
Measure A accounts for more than 12% of total General Fund revenue each year.
The dramatic reduction was the result of a perfect storm as the City’s expenditures on services began to increase (e.g. the San Fernando Regional Pool, Los Angeles Fire Department contract, and other projects added significant ongoing operations and maintenance costs) just before the onset of the “Great Recession” in 2007. Additionally, the State of California eliminated local redevelopment funding in 2012, which the City used to make infrastructure improvements and fund economic development programs.
To remain solvent, the City reduced employee benefits, discontinued retiree medical benefits for new employees, implemented layoffs and furloughs, eliminated vacant positions, reduced department budgets, and renegotiated the contract with Los Angeles Fire Department. City employment was reduced from 160 in 2008 to 128 in 2017 (20% reduction). The number of sworn Police Officers was reduced from 37 in 2008 to 31 in 2017 (16% reduction).
Without the revenues generated by Measure A, the City would have struggled to stay out of bankruptcy. In 2013, the City’s auditors expressed their concern regarding the City’s ability to continue operate and carry out its financial commitments, obligations and objectives.
The planned use of Measure A funds is clearly identified through the annual budget process and in the City Manager’s Budget Message. All current and prior Annual Reports and Budget documents are posted on the City’s website under the Financial Documents section of the Finance Department page, as well as this webpage.
Measure A revenues are budgeted and recorded in a separate account in the City’s General Ledger. This allows the City staff to easily discern year-to-date receipts, update projections, and make budget adjustments, if necessary.
Lastly, City staff conducts quarterly meetings with a consultant to review Sales and Transaction Tax receipts in detail. This provides staff with valuable information on the health of the local economy, various business sectors, and individual companies by reviewing their quarterly sales tax reports. It also gives staff an opportunity to make the consultant aware of new businesses opening in the City so staff can ensure compliance with Measure A.
The City’s General Fund has been in a deficit fund balance position since Fiscal Year 2010-2011. To address the deficit, the City took a number of steps to stabilize ongoing finances, including reducing programs and services, reducing training and professional development opportunities for City staff, implementing layoffs and furloughs, and eliminating vacant positions. Many of these actions were short-term fixes that were necessary to remain solvent, but were not sustainable in the long-term.
In addition to short-term actions identified above, the City has taken a number of longer-term actions since the passage of Measure A to address the City’s deficit and improve long-term financial stability, including:
- Renegotiated the Fire and Emergency Services contract with the Los Angeles Fire Department to reduce the City’s ongoing annual cost without reducing service (saved more than $500,000/year).
- Transferred operational and financial responsibility of the San Fernando Regional Pool to the County of Los Angeles through a lease of up to 55 years (saved more than $500,000/year).
- Reduced retiree health benefits for new employees to decrease the City’s retiree health (OPEB) liability (significant long-term savings).
- Sold surplus land and used the land sale proceeds to reduce the General Fund deficit (generated $1 million in proceeds).
- Developed a five-year General Fund projection to improve long-term decision making.
- Adopted a Development Agreement Ordinance to provide additional tools to increase economic development efforts and diversify the tax base.
- Re-established reserves for the Self-Insurance and Equipment Replacement Funds (more than $1 million in reserve to protect against large lawsuits).
- Updated user fees, development fees, cost allocation calculations to ensure an appropriate cost recovery for City services (more than $500,000/year in projected ongoing revenue).
- Updated the City’s long term financial planning policies, including budget, purchasing, debt management, grant management, investment, and reserve policies, with an emphasis on creating long term fiscal sustainability.