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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Measure G
Vital City Services Protection Measure
City of Morgan Hill

Utility Users Tax - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 5,103 / 35.22% Yes votes ...... 9,384 / 64.78% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 25 11:10am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (27/27)
Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

"To help protect general City services including public safety, shall the City of Morgan Hill establish a two percent general utility users' tax on the use of gas, electricity, water, telecommunications, video, sewer, and refuse hauling services, with low-income exemptions, to be reviewed by the City Council every two years and terminated if findings are not made that the tax is necessary for the City's financial health?"

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
A "Yes" vote means the voter is in favor of authorizing the City to collect a utility users tax.

A NO vote on this measure means:
A "No" vote means the voter is not in favor of the City collecting a utility users tax.

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
Measure G, if approved by a majority vote, would authorize the collection of a utility users tax in the City of Morgan Hill. The tax would be a general tax imposed at the rate of two percent (2.0%) on the use of gas, electric, water, sewer, garbage, telecommunications and video/CATV services.

All revenue generated by the general tax would go to the City's general fund to provide general city services including, police, emergency preparedness, libraries, youth and senior services. It is estimated that the tax will generate approximately $1.6 million per year, which represents approximately 6% of the City's general operating budget.

Exemptions to the tax are expressly provided. Low income electricity and gas users who qualify for the California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program pursuant to the California Public Utilities Code are exempt from the tax on gas and electricity usage. The tax would not be levied against entities exempt by law, including federal and state agencies and public schools.

The tax would be computed on the basis of monthly usage and service charges, and would be collected by the utility service provider.

The levy of the utility users tax is subject to review by the City Council not later than June 30, 2011, and every two years thereafter. If the Council fails to make findings by a two thirds (2/3) vote that such tax is necessary for the financial health of the City, the levy of the tax will terminate on December 31st of the year in which the Council fails to make the required findings.

A "Yes" vote means the voter is in favor of authorizing the City to collect a utility users tax. A "No" vote means the voter is not in favor of the City collecting a utility users tax.

In order for the City to collect a utility users tax, the ballot measure must be approved by a majority of the voters voting on the measure.

/s/ Dan K. Siegel
Interim City Attorney
City of Morgan Hill

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure G. If you desire a copy of the Measure, please call the City Clerk's Office at 408/779-7259, and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you. A copy of the Measure may also be found at

  Official Information

City of Morgan Hill

Candidate Forums

  • Candidate Forum & Measure G - October 13, 7 pm -9 pm City Hall Chambers, 17555 Peak Ave., Morgan Hill
News and Analysis

Google News Search

Official Version of Ballot Measure

N. B. The information about the Measure may contain errors from retyping. The official version may be obtained from the Registrar of Voters.
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Arguments For Measure G Arguments Against Measure G
Nothing is more important to the community than public safety; our highest priority.

The City continues its managed growth; there are new stores and restaurants and more activities for kids and families. But the level of police staffing has not kept pace and prevents us from providing the best and safest services.

After an extended period of intense study and community input, it is clear that we need to efficiently deploy more officers on patrol. We need to expand anti-gang and anti-drug enforcement efforts as crime and gang activity increase in Morgan Hill. We need more crime prevention officers in neighborhoods to improve safety and protect the quality of life we enjoy in our community.

Morgan Hill has the lowest ratio of police officers to population in Santa Clara County as well as one of the lowest per capita tax rates.

Your City Council manages the city to put your money to work as efficiently as possible. Additional revenues are needed to pay for increased police staffing and services. Your entire City Council supports the need for significantly more officers.

A 2% tax on utility bills is a reasonable investment to make to provide more effective, efficient and safer services. It is less than half the rate assessed by neighboring cities.

This measure will save overtime payment expenses. None of the money raised by this measure can be taken by the state or county - it all stays right here in Morgan Hill.

Extraordinary financial accountability features are implemented by Measure G. In addition to annual audits, every two years, the measure will be publicly reviewed, and only two elected City Council member votes would be needed to overturn it.

Please join your neighbors and friends in supporting vital City services that protect our community's safety, vote YES on Measure G.

/s/ Steve Tate
Mayor, City of Morgan Hill
/s/ Dennis Kennedy
Former Mayor
/s/ Laura L. Brunton
Board Member, Chamber of Commerce
/s/ Jeannette K. Riley
Senior Advisory Commissioner
/s/ Shane Palsgrove
President, Police Officers Association

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Without a doubt, the most important services the City is responsible for are: police, fire, sewer, and water.

We strongly support public safety services.

But this utility tax is about Recreation Department losses.

The Morgan Hill Redevelopment Agency ("RDA") spent $65 million building the following recreational facilities that Council Members Tate, Sellers, and Carr pledged would be financially sound:

2002 -- Community Center -- $13.6 million
2002 -- Community Playhouse -- $3.0 million
2004 -- Aquatics Center -- $13.5 million
2006 -- Centennial Recreation Center -- $27.5 million
2007 -- Outdoor Sports Center -- $7.7 million

Yet, Recreation Department expenses have consistently exceeded revenues resulting in huge losses. Losses over the last six years totaled $6.6 million, and for the next five years are projected to be $8.8 million. (These figures are from the 2003 through 2008 "Operating and CIP Budget" reports published annually by the City.)

Without these losses, the city could have $15.4 million from which to pay for additional police services.

Council Members Tate, Sellers, and Carr pledged to build financially sound recreational facilities and they failed. They have turned their failure into a utility tax.

Without a doubt, taxpayers need and must demand strong fiscal management. If the City wants more tax money, a financially sound Recreation Department plan should be presented.

We work hard for the money. Don't let the City ignore Recreation Department losses.

Vote November 4th against the utility tax, Measure G.

To see images of supporting documents and more details visit:

/s/ Patricia A Eldridge
Treasurer, CAUGHT Again
/s/ Arthur T. College II
Director of Finance/Assistant City Manager (Former)
/s/ Marion V. Smith
Concerned Resident
/s/ Douglas A. McNea
President, Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Association

Vote NO because: For Election Day November, 1999 current Council Members, Tate, Sellers, and Carr, signed a ballot argument (Measure D) asking voters to extend the RDA to build, among other items, recreation facilities. They pledged that 1) only financially sound facilities would be built, 2)no bonded debt issued, 3) facilities' operations would not raise taxes. All three pledges will be broken if this measure passes. Here's what actually happened.

Fiscal Year Ending June ("FYEJune") 2003:
December - Community & Cultural Center Grand Opening
Recreation operating LOSS -- $616,127

FYEJune 2004:
June - Aquatics Center Grand Opening
Recreation operating LOSS -- $917,986

FYEJune 2005:
July - Treasurer: "five year plan... identified... strong potential for a shortage of revenue"
Feb - Carr: "Council...policy in place... projects are to break even"
May - Tate: "pledge was made to the public to make these operations cost recovery"
May - Sellers: Council "may have put themselves in a box declaring these facilities would be able to pay for themselves"
June - Grzan: "City has built facilities without a mechanism to sustain them"
Recreation operating LOSS -- $1,018,906

FYEJune 2006:
January - Council begins Community Conversation regarding General Fund LOSS
April - Community Conversation Results - "31% supported cuts to recreation"
Recreation operating LOSS -- $1,065,414

FYEJune 2007:
October - Centennial Recreation Center Grand Opening
Recreation operating LOSS -- $1,632,428

FYEJune 2008:
November - Outdoor Sports Center Grand Opening
January - Council issued $110,000,000 RDA bonded debt
May - City Connections newsletter mentions only public safety shortfall
Recreation operating LOSS projection -- $1,379,594

July 2008 through June 2013:
November - Proposed Utility Tax, "Vital City Services Protection Measure", raises $1,600,000 annually
Recreation operating LOSS projection -- $8,770,602 ($1,754,120 yearly)

This tax is about recreation losses and money management, not public safety.

/s/ Patricia A Eldridge
Treasurer CAUGHT Again
/s/ Lisa Fay Johnson
Assistant Controller
/s/ Marion V. Smith
Concerned Resident
/s/ Arthur T. College II
Dir. of Finance/Asst. City Mgr. (Former)

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
It seems that government at all levels is talking about raising taxes to continue providing services during tough economic times.

Measure G is a local measure for local services right here in Morgan Hill. The Council and the community strongly support the need for expanding police services and Measure G will provide the revenue to make a big difference. The expenditure of the funds generated by Measure G will be decided right here in Morgan Hill with regular public review and accountability to the taxpayers of Morgan Hill.

Recreation programs and facilities help build a stronger community and make Morgan Hill attractive to new private investment.

But what we need now are more police officers on the street.

Vote YES on Measure G.

/s/ Steve Tate
Mayor, City of Morgan Hill
/s/ Shane Palsgove
President, Police Offices Association
/s/ J. Robert Foster
Attorney at Law
/s/ Lorenza "Lori" Escobar
Youth Advocate
/s/ Marby Lee

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