The following message is from City Manager Mark Lazzaretto.
Dear San Gabriel,
This month, I wanted to take some time to discuss Measure SG and how it impacts our community.
Earlier this year, the City Council placed a 0.75% sales tax measure on the March 2020 ballot titled Measure SG for consideration by San Gabriel voters. Measure SG is anticipated to raise $3 million per year for San Gabriel’s General Fund, which is dedicated to City services such as police and fire services, infrastructure improvements, recreation and free after-school programs.
In a recent community survey, we asked San Gabriel residents how we should prioritize City services. Based on these survey results, San Gabriel residents indicated that the City should prioritize fire and police services alongside infrastructure improvements.
The City takes this input very seriously.
Based on ongoing community input, the City Council has devoted approximately $19.43 million to rebuild 39 lane miles of San Gabriel streets. We have also improved public safety by striving to maintain prompt 911 emergency response times as well as introducing new programs such as our Mental Evaluation Team, Community Emergency Response Team and the School Community Engagement Team to address safety in our community.
While the City cannot advocate for this initiative, you might find the following factual information to be helpful when evaluating it.
Why propose a sales tax now?
Costs for important services – such as fire, police and infrastructure improvement projects – continue to rise. Over the past year, our police department has reduced average response times from 4 minutes and 5 seconds to 3 minutes while our fire department continues to respond to an increasing number of calls without changing staffing levels. In order to maintain our high emergency response standards, the City requires additional funds in order to maintain and protect these services.
In addition, the County of Los Angeles currently has a sales tax cap of 10.25%. The current sales tax rate in San Gabriel is 9.5%, with only 1% of funds falling under local control. The remaining 8.5% goes to the State, County and regional agencies for use by those agencies. The remaining sales tax below the cap will be apportioned based on which government entity first adopts a tax measure. If the City adopts Measure SG before the County of Los Angeles, the additional $3 million in revenue will be transferred to the City’s General Fund rather than to the County.
The San Gabriel City Council – rather than the County – will decide how to spend these funds during their public budgeting process with input from San Gabriel residents and businesses.
What would the funds be used for?
Based on community input, the City Council has indicated that funds from Measure SG will be spent on public safety and public infrastructure, which includes funding for police patrols, emergency services, street improvements and sewage improvements among other City services.
How would the sales tax measure impact the average San Gabriel resident?
This 0.75% increase translates to approximately 75¢ for every $100 spent. This means that a trip to the store for $50 worth of household goods would increase by approximately 38¢. Thousands of visitors come to San Gabriel on a daily basis to experience our local businesses for shopping and dining. The City anticipates that San Gabriel’s strong tourism market will be a significant source of Measure SG’s funding.
Have neighboring cities also passed their own sales tax measure?
Yes. Monrovia, Arcadia, Irwindale and South Pasadena voters recently passed a sales tax increase for their respective cities, while Alhambra is proposing a similar initiative for the March 2020 ballot.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about Measure SG and how it impacts our community. To learn more about Measure SG, please visit MeasureSG.com.