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Duarte Public Safety/Essential Services Measure

On March 3, 2020, Duarte voters will decide if they want to approve Measure D to keep our tax dollars local and protect vital public safety and community programs. If approved by a majority of Duarte’s voters, this measure will take the City’s existing sales tax from the current rate 9.5 percent to 10.25 percent, generating approximately $2.6 million per year in local revenue. All funds will be used to benefit Duarte residents and are subject to annual independent financial audits – no funds could be taken by the State, County or other cities.

Facts About Duarte's Sales Tax

The current sales tax in Duarte is 9.5%, of which only 1% is under local control. The remainder goes to the state and County. This year, Duarte is expected to send $11.7 million to the County in special sales taxes, but only receive $1.3 million in return. Without additional revenues, the City will need to evaluate cutting close to 10 percent of its overall City budget by June 2020.

If approved by a majority of voters, this local funding will:

  • Prevent cuts to emergency response, public safety
  • Retain neighborhood Sheriff’s patrols and crime suppression/investigation
  • Maintain streets, roads and repairing potholes, so they don’t become more costly to fix in the future
  • Keep parks, trails, sports fields and facilities in good condition
  • Preserve youth and senior services

It is estimated 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.

Residents in many of our neighboring cities — including Arcadia, El Monte, Glendora, Irwindale, Monrovia, Pasadena and Sierra Madre — have already voted to approve similar revenue measures to keep tax dollars local to protect vital public safety and community programs. Several other cities including Alhambra, Azusa, Norwalk, San Dimas, San Gabriel and West Covina will also have local revenue measures on the March 3, 2020 ballot to protect city services.

Steps We've Taken

Like many California cities, the City is at a critical juncture. Duarte’s key sources of revenue such as sales and property taxes are not keeping pace with the rising costs of maintaining service levels that keep Duarte a vibrant community. The City currently faces a structural deficit of $1.2 million and it is anticipated to grow in future years. Long-term solutions are needed soon to keep tax dollars in Duarte.

Duarte’s City Council historically has taken a number of proactive steps to protect essential services while reducing costs. The Council has scaled back some services to find $2 million in savings and deferred $1.5 million in capital projects. Thanks to our City employees and their bargaining units, we renegotiated labor agreements that resulted in both short-term and long-term savings. But these critical actions have only slowed down the problem, not solved it.

Moving Forward Together

We will continue engaging all community members about Measure D and the impacts on City services if voters approve the measure, so please continue visiting this page for more information about this measure and the March 3, 2020 election.

Facts about Measure D  Facts about Measure D - Spanish

 Measure D FAQs Measure D FAQs - Spanish

FAQs

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What is Measure D and why is it needed?

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.

What would Measure D provide for the City?

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.

How does Measure D affect local public safety 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.

How will the money from Measure D be spent?

    If passed, Measure D would protect and maintain essential services, including:
  • Preventing cuts to emergency response, public safety
  • Maintaining streets, roads and repairing potholes so they don’t become more costly to fix in the future
  • Retaining neighborhood Sheriff’s patrols and crime suppression/investigation
  • Keeping parks, trails, sports fields and facilities in good condition
  • Preserving youth and senior services

Would the revenue from a 3/4¢ sales tax increase be used outside of Duarte?

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.

How was this budget shortfall created?

  • The City’s challenges started over a decade ago with the “Great Recession.”
  • Shifting consumer habits have decreased our revenue. Key revenue sources such as sales and property taxes are not keeping pace with the rising costs of maintaining City service levels.
  • Rising costs, expanding regulations, and changing expectations have increased our expenses.

What has the City done so far to reduce the budget deficit?

    Since fiscal year 2008/2009, the Duarte City Council has taken several steps to reduce costs. These include:
  • Service cuts totaling approximately $2 million
  • Delaying $1.5 million in capital projects (improvement and maintenance of city property).
  • Renegotiated labor agreements with its employees resulting in savings in both the short- and long-term through the lowering of pension costs, retirement benefits, medical insurance
  • Implemented a furlough (unpaid vacation) program
  • Eliminated 12 staff positions.

Did the City explore other options to raise revenues?

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.

What types of purchases will be subject to Measure D?

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.

Why is local control of revenue important?

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.

What happens if the County or another agency introduces a sales tax measure?

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.

If Measure D doesn’t pass what cuts can we expect the City to make?

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.

How does the current sales tax rate in Duarte compare to other cities in our area?

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.

Who would pay for Measure D?

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.

How can we be sure the funds are being used locally and as promised?

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.

How can I learn more about Measure D?

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.

Measure Documents

Sales Tax Ordinance

Impartial Analysis

Argument In Favor

Argument Against

Rebuttal to Argument Against

Rebuttal to Argument in Favor

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.

L.A. County's Vote Centers and the New Voter Experience

In 2020 Los Angeles County will be moving away from traditional polling places and will be welcoming Vote Centers. Vote Centers will be placed throughout Los Angeles County in convenient and accessible locations. Learn more at https://vsap.lavote.net/.