On Tuesday, March 3, residents of Duarte voted to approve Measure D, the Duarte Public Safety/Essential Services Sales Tax Measure. Measure D will ensure tax dollars stay local and protect vital public safety and community programs. The new sales tax goes into effect on July 1, 2020, increasing from 9.5% to 10.25%.
We will continue engaging community members about the City's finances. Consider participating in the FY 2020-21 Budget Workshop on July 6, 2020 at 4 p.m. Click here to learn more and register.
After several months of gathering community input about priorities for Duarte, the City Council unanimously placed Measure D, the Duarte Public Safety/Essential Services Measure, on the March 3, 2020 ballot. It’s a 3/4¢ sales tax increase that would protect and maintain essential city services.
>This year’s budget included a structural deficit of $1.2 million — a gap between ongoing revenues and ongoing costs — which is anticipated to grow in future years. The City will run out of reserves in four to five years, meaning that the City will have to cut close to 10% of the overall budget if the situation continues.
It is estimated that Measure D will generate $2.6 million per year in local revenue to safeguard the City’s finances and to ensure that our residents and businesses continue to have access to high-quality public safety services, repairs to streets and sidewalks, parks and recreation programs and facilities, and youth and senior services. All revenue raised by Measure D would stay in Duarte to be spent locally on City services.
Public safety is one of the City’s top priorities. Measure D will help ensure our City has adequate Sheriff’s Department patrols to control crime, prevent theft and burglaries and respond to emergencies. Measure D will provide locally controlled funding for local needs – the funding cannot be taken by other entities.
Absolutely not. All revenue raised by Measure D will stay in Duarte to improve our local community and will not be taken by the State, County, regional agencies or special districts.
The City Council believes that cuts to services alone won’t solve the budget deficit without unacceptable loss of services — like Sheriff’s services. The City created an Ad Hoc Citizens Finance Advisory Committee to evaluate Duarte’s financial future. The Committee considered a number of options and overwhelmingly supported a general sales tax measure as the best option to close the $1.2 million budget deficit and fund essential services.
In California, sales tax is collected on retail transactions and tangible personal property items. If approved, Measure D WILL NOT apply to groceries, rent, mortgages, utilities, prescription medicine, or personal services, such as medical and dental services.
The City receives approximately one penny of the 9.5 cents in sales tax for every dollar spent on taxable purchases made in Duarte. The remaining 8.5 cents is divided up between the State and County for various services including regional public safety, transportation and homelessness. This year, Duarte is expected to send $11.75 million to the County in special sales taxes, but only receive $1.28 million in return. For example, Duarte has provided more than $1.35 million in Measure H homeless funds to the County and has only received $30,000 to date.
If Measure D isn’t approved by Duarte voters, any future sales tax adopted by the County, regional agencies and special districts would be assessed on Duarte and we would lose the ability to use those funds to improve our local community. Two regional government agencies, the County and the Southern California Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), are evaluating future sales tax measures to pay for homeless housing and air quality improvement, respectively. Given a 2% cap on all local sales taxes, if those regional taxes are approved, Duarte will not be able to adopt a local sales tax of its own.
Duarte’s City Council and staff work tirelessly to protect and improve the quality of life for our community. We understand our unmatched community services are part of what makes the City of Duarte a great place to live, work and do business.
If the budget deficit isn’t closed by new revenue, the City Council will need to evaluate cuts to services. These could include services such as public safety, road paving, street and traffic improvements, maintenance of City properties, landscaping, parks and recreation, City department staffing hours, and youth and senior services.
Duarte’s current sales tax rate of 9.5% is among the lowest in the region. Several nearby cities including Arcadia, El Monte, Glendora, Monrovia, Pasadena and Sierra Madre already have additional local sales tax measures in place. Alhambra, Azusa, La Verne, San Gabriel, San Dimas and West Covina have placed a similar sales tax measure on the March 2020 ballot to protect city services.
We estimate that 70% of the 3/4¢ sales tax will be paid for by non-Duarte residents such as visitors who shop at our local businesses and dine at our restaurants.
Measure D includes strict accountability requirements such as public disclosure of all spending and annual independent financial audits to ensure funds are used effectively and as promised, and only to benefit the Duarte community. Every penny raised from Measure D is legally required to stay in Duarte.
The City continues to engage all community members on its fiscal situation and potential solutions to secure Duarte’s future. For additional information on Measure D and the City’s budget, please visit www.DuarteMeasureD.com.
The City continues to engage all community members on its current fiscal situation and potential solutions to secure Duarte’s future. For additional information on the City’s budget and the Ad Hoc Citizens’ Finance Advisory Committee, please visit www.duarteforall.com.