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Monterey County, CA November 3, 2009 Election
Measure J
Special Parcel Tax
City of Pacific Grove

2/3 Approval Required

Fail: 2,747 / 65.91% Yes votes ...... 1,421 / 34.09% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of November 19 5:59pm, 100.00%% of Precincts Reporting (7/7)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the City of Pacific Grove Library Funding Measure be approved to enact an ordinance to create a Special Parcel Tax and limit that revenue to the sole purpose of maintaining and improving services at the Pacific Grove Public Library?

Impartial Analysis from City of Pacific Grove
Measure J presents the "Pacific Grove Library Funding Measure". This ballot measure submits to the voters an ordinance to create aSpecial Parcel Tax to benefit the Pacific Grove Public Library. If approved, this measure would, for a ten-year term, raise revenue solely dedicated to staff, provide, maintain and improve service and materials at the Pacific Grove Public Library.

The City of Pacific Grove is authorized by state law to impose qualified special taxes on property upon approval by two-thirds (2/3) of the electors casting ballots. This tax must apply to all affected property owners. It cannot be an ad valorem tax on property. It is not a transaction tax. It is not a tax on the sale of property. The City of Pacific Grove currently does not levy a parcel tax. If approved, this measure creates an annual tax of ninety six dollars $96) per single-family residence, seventy five dollars ($75) per multi-family unit, and ninety six dollars ($96) for all other property, including commercial, industrial, and public utility property. A parcel is any unit of real estate within Pacific Grove as established by the Monterey County Assessor. Tax is assessed based upon parcel ownership on July 1 of each year.

Funds collected must be deposited into a special fund. Money is limited in use, and can be expended only for the Pacific Grove Public Library. This can pay costs of personnel, utilities, materials, contract services and other items beneficial to library programs,services, facilities and assets. Proceeds may also be used to audit Library expenses.

The Pacific Grove Library Funding Measure requires the Pacific Grove Library Board, created by Article 26 of the City Charter, to ensure revenue and spending is limited to approved programs. The Library Board will annually audit funds collected and expended.

The Pacific Grove Library Funding Measure includes a low income household exemption that exempts qualified residential units from the Parcel Tax.

Tax rates allowed by this Measure are maximum rates. The City Council may suspend, reduce or eliminate the tax when sufficient revenues are available to balance the City Budget and provide for Library services and programs. Each year the City Council may increase rates based upon cost of living increases shown on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), but the annual adjustment is limited to five percent (5%). Otherwise, the tax rate cannot be increased without further voter approval.

The parcel tax authorized by this Measure has a sunset date; it can be collected for only a period of ten years.

The City Council put this Measure on the ballot by unanimous vote. The Council separately declared, by unanimous vote, that a financial emergency exists and immediate and urgent enactment of this Measure is needed to preserve the Pacific Grove Public Library.

A "YES" vote shall authorize the Pacific Grove Library Funding Measure Special Parcel Tax. A "NO" vote shall reject the Special Parcel Tax.

David C. Laredo City Attorney City of Pacific Grove, CA

This statement presents an impartial analysis of the Pacific Grove Library Funding Measure. If you desire a copy of the resolution placing the Measure, including the full text of the proposed ordinance, and/or a copy of the resolution declaring an emergency to exist, please call the Monterey County Elections Office at (831) 796-1499 and copies will be mailed to you at no cost.

  Official Information


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Arguments For Measure J Arguments Against Measure J
The Pacific Grove Public Library is the heart of our community, where dreams are born, educations enhanced, and new futures brought to life. Yet, the city has slashed our library's budget and hours more than 50 percent. Anticipated further cuts will be a deathblow.

The library is now open only four partial days a week, at a time when residents rely on it more than ever. Donations alone must cover many basics--even children's books and programs. The few remaining staff can no longer provide all services the public needs.

Measure J is, at its core, an up or down vote on our library. If Measure J succeeds, the library will stay open. If it fails, it is almost certain the library will close next year. Don't let that happen.

Instead, take a stand and say, "I will not let the library close. Not in our town."

Vote Yes, and restore a stable, basic level of funding that cannot, by law, be used for anything other than the Pacific Grove Public Library.

Vote Yes, and ensure a library that's open at least five days a week and has the money to pay professional librarians.

Vote Yes, and reinstate funding for children's story hours, adult programs, and new books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, computers, and reference services.

Is our library worth $1.85 a week per parcel, $1.44 for apartments and condos? You decide. Communities with strong libraries benefit from better-educated citizens, less crime, and higher property values. This parcel tax will end in 10 years; low-income households are exempt.

Take the politics out of library funding. Keep the library open and help guarantee a vibrant future for our community, an inspirational haven for our children, and a continuing legacy of literacy and learning in Pacific Grove.

Vote Yes and ensure the future of the Pacific Grove Public Library.

/s/ Judy Wills Retired Teacher

/s/ Gail E. Abeloe Business Owner

/s/ Richard Stillwell Homeowner

/s/ Linda Bailey Co-Chair, PG Reads for the Library

/s/ Don Mothershead

Rebuttal to Arguments For
First, the proponents of Measure J state that, if it fails, "it is almost certain the library will close next year". In fact, the library will probably close even if Measure J passes. In his July 15th "Agenda Report", Director of Management and Budget Jim Becklenberg stated that Measure J funds would not be received until over a year after the measure passes "with full effect not realized until FY 2010/11." Does it make sense to raise taxes to support a bureaucracy that is likely to fail? And if it does fail, you will have voted for $6.3 million in new taxes for a purpose and entity that no longer exists!

Second, the proponents suggest some causal connection between libraries and better-educated citizens and less crime. They giveno data to support this contention. In fact, the data show no such correlation: Compton, Oakland, Richmond, and Salinas all have libraries and have the highest homicide rates in the state.

The tax would be $96 per year on every parcel of land. Do you value the library at $96 per year? And, if you do, shouldn't you pay a fee rather than voting for your fellow citizens to subsidize you?

When profligate government spending forces a realistic possibility of bankruptcy for Pacific Grove, citizens have to settle for essential government services. A library is not one of them. Don't keep enabling the city's fiscal mismanagement with more taxes. Vote "NO" on Measure J. NO NEW TAXES!

/s/ Carl A. Mounteer Attorney at Law

/s/ David R. Henderson Economist

Last year voters lavished the City of Pacific Grove with perpetual sales tax revenues of an estimated $1.3 million per year. But, predictably, the city still doesn't have enough money. Now they want us to pay more taxes, an estimated $630,000 per year, to keep the library open. This just proves the axiom: no matter how much money you give to a public entity, it will never be enough. They will continue to seek more and more revenues by more and more taxes. The city has admitted as much in its July 15th "Agenda Report" where it states "There will be opportunities for tax elections over the next year...". And with the state poised to raid city revenues, more tax measures are inevitable.

The city's fiscal problems are their own creation. For example, because of their servility to the demands of police and fire department employees, the city repeatedly amplified their salaries and pensions: an increase of over 50% for pensions in 2002, a $1 million per year increase for police salaries in 2007, and $1.5 million/year to pay off a loan to pay CalPERS for the $19 million it lost in bad investments. And this latest tax measure is the result of the city's conclusion in their July 15th report "that library services is of [sic]secondary priority". Therefore, they are seeking to take $400,000 from the library to help close an estimated $2 million budget gap and want the taxpayers to finance this with Measure J.

Citizens have a duty to set boundaries on taxation. This is because the natural tendency of government is extravagance, waste,and the aggrandizement of public employees. These vices are what led to this latest tax proposal. Don't reward fiscal irresponsibility. Vote NO on Measure J.

/s/ Carl A. Mounteer Attorney at Law REBUTTAL

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
The Pacific Grove Public Library is not guilty of whatever mistakes or bad luck led the city into its fiscal crisis...yet it's the library that now faces the death sentence!

What's past is done...let's look at the facts and the stakes today:

--As everyone knows, the devastating recession has also been catastrophic for the General Fund, forcing agonizing choices in thecity the point where our library--already enduring death by slow starvation--may soon be on the chopping block if it does not get its own stable, dedicated revenue source: at least enough to fund a basic level of operations and services.

--The anti-J argument cites the high cost of Pacific Grove's public-safety salaries and pensions, and expensive CalPERS losses. Such ballooning costs are the very reason why our library is now desperately shorthanded, almost unable to buy new materials, unable to stay open for even 25 hours per week.... and staring down the barrel at total defunding, and total shutdown.

--Measure J will finally give our library its own minimal, basic, steady income: UNTOUCHABLE by the CITY or STATE for any other purpose, BY LAW!

--A great library is a city's treasure, provides education and services to all; and helps to boost property values, too!

Our library was born over a century ago. Every generation since then has willingly paid the price to keep it both going, and growing! Will we be the ones who drop the torch?


/s/ Moe Ammar Business Leader

/s/ Joseph J. Shammas Business Owner

/s/ Don T. Gasperson Former Pacific Grove Fire Chief

/s/ Susan Steele College Administrator /s/ Laura Courtney Headley Acting Chair, Pacific Grove Public Library Advisroy Board

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Created: December 29, 2009 12:06 PST
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