TOWN OF ROSS
MEASURE K: Shall the voters of the Town of Ross adopt an ordinance to reauthorize from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2025, the annual special tax for maintaining public safety services at a rate of $970 per dwelling unit for single family residences and $970 per parcel for all other uses, with an annual cost of living adjustment on both, providing about $810,000 annually, and increasing the Town’s appropriations limit by the amount of the special tax proceeds?
TOWN ATTORNEY’S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE K
Measure K, which is placed on the ballot by the Town Council of the Town of Ross, asks the voters of Ross to adopt an ordinance reauthorizing a special tax for public safety services in the Town. The existing special tax of $950 per parcel for public safety services will expire on June 30, 2017. The proposed ordinance will authorize the Town to collect a special tax for public safety services from July 1, 2017 until June 30, 2025, at a rate of $970 per dwelling unit for single family residences and $970 per parcel for all other uses. The proposed ordinance adds an annual inflation adjustment to the special tax rate beginning with fiscal year 2018-19. The annual inflation adjustment will be based on increases in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Area published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor.
The tax applies to all improved parcels in the Town. The term “parcel” is defined by the ordinance to mean a parcel of real property having a separate assessor’s parcel number as shown on the last equalized assessment roll of Marin County. The tax will not be applicable to any parcel exempted by law. The tax also will not apply to a residential second unit registered with the Town.
The proceeds of the special tax must be placed in a special fund to be used solely for the purpose of providing public safety services in the Town.
The ordinance also increases the Town’s appropriation limit established by Article XIIIB, Section 6 of the California Constitution, which will allow the Town to spend the proceeds of this special tax.
A “yes” vote on Measure K reauthorizes a special tax for public safety services in the Town from July 1, 2017 until June 30, 2025. A “no” vote will result in the special tax for public safety expiring on June 30, 2017. Two-thirds of the voters voting on the measure must vote in its favor for the special tax ordinance to be adopted.
The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure K. If you desire a copy of the ordinance or measure, please call the Town Clerk at 415-453-1453, extension 105, and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.
Ross Town Attorney
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE K
Your yes vote on Measure K is essential to maintain our current level of police and fire protection services for Ross residents.
Beginning in 1984, Ross voters have approved a parcel tax to support public safety services. The current tax provides crucial funding for fire and police services, but expires next July. Renewing the tax is essential to maintain public safety, continuing the current level of fire and police services.
The Town’s revenue consists primarily of property taxes. However, Ross receives only 18.6 cents of every dollar; the rest goes to the county, state, and other government agencies. Unlike most towns, Ross has minimal sales tax revenue. The Town’s share of property taxes doesn’t cover the Town’s operating costs, including costs for public safety services: these costs currently represent 65% of the Town’s expenses, not including fee-for-service items like Ross Recreation.
The Town has implemented policies to ensure fiscal accountability and control costs, including:
- Consolidating with Ross Valley Fire Department, saving $120,000/year
- Requiring employees to pay a greater share of retirement costs
- Requiring police employees to pay a share of medical costs
- Reducing retirement benefits for recently hired employees
- Paying part of Ross’s CALPERS assessment for employee benefits, saving $1,200,000 in interest over 20 years
- Managing government costs to keep increases less than CPI
Thanks to Council cost–saving measures, public safety costs are lower than they were in 2010. Still, Town revenues don’t fully cover fire and police costs.
Without a 2/3 vote in favor of Measure K, essential fire and police services are at risk, forcing less than full coverage, a potential shift to the county for police services, and reduced fire services.
Please vote YES on Measure K to maintain current levels of fire and police services.
Mayor, Town of Ross
s/ELIZABETH ROBBINS, M.D.
Mayor Pro Tempore, Town of Ross
Former Mayor, Town of Ross
President, Ross School Board of Trustees
Former President, Ross School PTA
NO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE K WAS SUBMITTED.
FULL TEXT OF MEASURE K
TOWN OF ROSS
ORDINANCE NO. 672
AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF ROSS, CALIFORNIA, AMENDING CHAPTER 3.20 OF THE ROSS MUNICIPAL CODE TO AUTHORIZE THE LEVY OF A SPECIAL TAX TO FINANCE PUBLIC SAFETY SERVICES AND AUTHORIZING AN INCREASE IN THE APPROPRIATIONS LIMIT FOR THE TOWN OF ROSS
THE PEOPLE OF THE TOWN OF ROSS, CALIFORNIA DO HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Section 3.20.020 of the Ross Municipal Code is hereby amended and restated in its entirety to read as follows:
Section 3.20.020 Special Tax Imposed.
A special tax for the purpose specified in Section 3.20.010 of this chapter shall be imposed on all improved parcels of real property in the Town of Ross for each fiscal year, commencing with fiscal year 2017-2018. The maximum amount of the special tax for each fiscal year shall be as follows:
- Single Family Residential Uses: $970 per dwelling unit on a parcel. For the purposes of this chapter, a dwelling unit means a building designed for or occupied by one family, including a dwelling unit under construction. A residential second unit duly registered with the Town of Ross, or any structure accessory to the primary dwelling, which is used for occupancy by family members, occasional guests, or servants, is not a dwelling unit for the purposes of this chapter.
- Multi-Family, Commercial or Other Non-Residential Uses: $970 per parcel. Beginning with fiscal year 2018-19 and for each fiscal year thereafter, the maximum amount of the special tax shall increase in an amount equal to the percentage by which the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Area published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor, or any successor to that index, increased in the twelve months prior to March of the calendar year in which the adjustment is made.
The records of the Marin County Assessor as of March 1st of each year shall determine the use and improvement of each parcel for the calculation of the special tax applicable to that parcel in the following fiscal year.
For the purposes of this chapter, the term “parcel” shall mean a parcel of real property having a separate assessor’s parcel number as shown on the last equalized assessment roll of Marin County.
Section 2. Section 3.20.040 of the Ross Municipal Code is hereby amended and restated in its entirety to read as follows:
3.20.040 Special Fund, Use of Tax Proceeds, Annual Report.
The proceeds of the special tax imposed by this chapter shall be placed in a special fund to be used solely for the purpose of providing public safety services.
The chief fiscal officer of the Town shall annually file with the Town Council a report regarding the amount of special tax revenues collected and expended and the status of any project authorized to be funded with the special parcel tax revenues, as required by California Government Code Section 50075.3, as such law is amended from time to time.
Section 3. Section 3.20.080 of the Ross Municipal Code is hereby amended and restated in its entirety to read as follows:
3.20.080 Termination of Provisions.
This chapter shall be null and void as of twelve o’clock midnight, June 30, 2025, and shall have no force and effect whatsoever after said time and date. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, section 3.20.050, relating to the collection and enforcement of liens or obligations for the special tax previously levied hereunder, shall continue in effect until such time as the collection and enforcement procedures have been completed.
Section 4. The appropriations limit of the Town of Ross established under Article XIIIB, Section 6 of the California Constitution shall be increased by the proceeds received from the special tax imposed by this ordinance. Any future increases in the appropriations limit shall be approved by a majority vote of the voters voting thereon.
Section 5. If any provision of this ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect any other provision or applications, and to this end the provisions of this ordinance are declared to be severable. The Town Council, and the electorate, do hereby declare that they would have adopted this ordinance and each section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, part or portion thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, clauses, phrases, parts or portions thereof, be declared invalid or unconstitutional.
Section 6. This ordinance shall be adopted and become effective only if approved by two-thirds of the voters voting thereon, at an election to be held on November 8, 2016.
Section 7. The Mayor is hereby authorized to attest to the adoption of this ordinance by signing where indicated below.
I hereby certify that the foregoing ordinance was PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the people of the Town of Ross voting on the 8th day of November, 2016.
Kathleen Hoertkorn, Mayor
Linda Lopez, Town Clerk