Measure L - City of Montclair Essential Services Protection Measure
On the November 3, 2020, General Municipal Election ballot, Montclair residents will vote on a local measure to protect essential public safety and community programs. If approved by a majority of Montclair’s voters, Measure L will take the City’s existing sales tax from the current rate of 8.0 percent to 9.0 percent, generating approximately $7 million annually in local revenue.
All revenue raised by Measure L would stay in Montclair to improve our community. Measure L revenues are also subject to annual independent financial audits, and cannot be taken by the State, County, and regional governments or special districts.
Facts About Montclair’s Sales Tax
The City of Montclair receives only a small portion of the sales tax revenue generated in the City – just 1¼¢ on every dollar spent on taxable purchases in Montclair is returned to the City for essential services. The remaining sales tax revenue (6¾¢ on every dollar spent in Montclair) is divided up between the State and County for various services.
If additional tax revenues are not generated to support City-provided services, the Montclair City Council may need to consider new cuts to essential services, programs, and infrastructure projects.
If approved by voters, Measure L would provide funding to protect, improve and maintain essential services provided to the community, including:
- Maintaining 911 emergency response and public safety services that keep our community safe, protected and secure;
- Maintaining and improving paramedic services for emergency medical calls;
- Preserving youth and senior services such as after school programs, meals and transit services for seniors and other residents in need, and programs designed to help at-risk youth avoid gang membership;
- Preparation, response and recovery programs for public health emergencies and natural and man-made disasters;
- Maintaining and improving the City's sewer and storm water systems and infrastructure to help prevent contamination of our local water sources;
- Programs for retaining local businesses and jobs;
- Assistance programs, temporary lodging and health care services for the homeless;
- Infrastructure improvement and maintenance programs for bridges, streets, and roads so they don’t become more costly to improve or repair in the future; and
- Maintenance and improvement programs to keep parks and facilities in good condition, and building new facilities to meet the growing needs of our residents.
Based on market studies, approximately 75% of the sales tax that would be generated by Measure L will be paid for by non-Montclair residents such as visitors who shop at our local businesses and dine at our local restaurants.
The COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout have affected nearly every city and community in California. Locally, the financial challenges facing Montclair are not unique to our community. Residents in many of our neighboring cities, including La Verne and Pomona, have already voted to approve similar tax measures.
Several other San Bernardino County cities including San Bernardino, Redlands, Victorville, Chino Hills, Ontario and Upland are either preparing tax measures for the November 3 election or exploring submitting tax measures for consideration by their voters at a later date.
The Steps We’ve Taken
Since the 2008-09 “Great Recession”, the Montclair City Council has taken several steps to reduce operating costs. These efforts include the following:
- Personnel reductions during the Great Recession totaling approximately $3.5 million.
- Elimination of 51 full-time staff positions over the past decade.
- Renegotiation of labor agreements with employees resulting in short- and long-term savings through the implementation of controls on wage- and benefit-related costs; transferring certain pension costs to employees; and reducing, controlling, restructuring, or eliminating other retirement-related benefits including health care costs.
- In response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis and its fiscal impacts on the economy, the City Council reduced departmental operating expenditures by approximately $3.5 million year over year (Fiscal Years 2019-20 and 2020-21), postponed spending on new infrastructure and capital projects, and instituted a citywide hiring freeze.
We will engage and educate community members about Measure L and solutions that will ensure Montclair can continue to offer the same essential services and programs it currently provides to our residents and businesses. Please continue visiting this page for more information about this measure and the November 3, 2020 election.
Additional Information and Downloads
For more information on Measure L including in Spanish, please download and share the Measure L Fact Sheet Medida L Hoja de Informacion and Measure L Frequently Asked Questions Medida L Preguntas Mas Frecuentes documents located below.
For general information on the November 3, 2020 General Municipal Election including voter registration resources, and polling and voting center locations, please the City Clerk’s Election webpage.
Frequently Asked Questions
After several months of surveying residents about a potential sales tax measure and gathering community input about priorities for Montclair, the City Council unanimously agreed to place Measure L, the Montclair Essential Services Protection Measure, on the November 3, 2020 General Municipal Election ballot. Measure L proposes a 1¢ sales tax increase that would protect and maintain essential City services.
In its adoption of a Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget, the Montclair City Council avoided a structural deficit — a gap between ongoing revenues and ongoing costs — by reducing expenditures by approximately $3.5 million. Based on current trends, the City will be required to maintain an estimated $5 million in reduced expenditures for services and personnel over the next several years. Without additional revenue, the City Council would need to use unrestricted reserve funds to close funding gaps, and these reserve funds could run out in approximately two years, further reducing the City’s ability to deliver essential services.
Lingering economic effects of the Great Recession, the continuing shutdown of much of the local economy in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, and the shift by consumers away from brick and mortar stores to online shopping has created a number of fiscal challenges for California cities.
Locally, residents in many of Montclair’s neighboring cities, including La Verne and Pomona, have already voted to approve similar tax measures. Several other San Bernardino County cities including San Bernardino, Redlands, Victorville, Chino Hills, Ontario and Upland are either preparing tax measures for the November 3 election or exploring submitting tax measures for consideration by their voters at a later date.
For additional information on Measure L and the November 3, 2020 General Municipal Election, please visit www.MontclairMeasureL.org.
- Resolution No. 20-3283 Submitting Measure to Voters
- Ballot Measure Notice - Arguments & Rebuttals
- Argument In Favor
- Impartial Analysis
- Montclair Measure L Fact Sheet - English
- City of Montclair Medida L - Hoja de Informacion - Spanish
- Montclair Measure L FAQ - English
- City of Montclair Medida L - Preguntas Mas Frecuentes - Spanish