Alfred Herrero, at age 33, is zeroing in on what counts — family and community.
It is why the 2005 Sierra High graduate is actively supporting the Measure Z one cent sales tax increase for the City of Manteca on the Nov. 3 ballot that he sees as investing in his hometown’s future livability a penny at a time.
“This is a tax that stays 100 percent in the city,” Herrero, who is among those serving on the recently formed Millennial Advisory Committee established by the Manteca City Council.
His decision to serve on the “Yes on Measure Z” committee as well was a no-brainer. Herrero after serving in the military has returned to Manteca to make his home and raise his 3 year-old daughter. He wants Manteca as a city to be positioned to provide essential services as well as amenities.
And although he likes Manteca — he moved here as a 9 year-old and started attending Stella Brockman School and considers this his hometown — Herrero said the city lacks many amenities that appeal to young families including adults.
He reflects the same thoughts as others in his age group who wrote the City Council in July in support of placing a sales tax measure on the ballot. Just like Herrero they chose Manteca to raise their families and expressed a need not just to maintain and expand basic services such as police and fire but to also pursue amenities that can help make Manteca even more livable.
Mayor Ben Cantu indicated that during his campaign two years ago the one thing that he kept being asked over and over is why Manteca doesn’t have amenities that other growing cities have.
“For years the city has had what I call ‘starvation budgets’,” Cantu said.
Cantu noted to provide additional services and amenities the city needs more funding. And the only way that can occur is if people approve more taxes.
Passage of Measure Z would take the total sales tax rate in Manteca up to 9.25 percent versus the current 8.25 percent. The city currently receives 1 cent of every 8.25 cents collected on taxable items that Herrero points out does not include non-prepared food or medicines along other items. Another half a cent is a restricted public safety tax that voters approved that is currently funding 17 police officers and 15 firefighters. Without the half cent sales tax the city would be unable to fully staff fire stations while there would only be 59 instead of 76 police officers.
Of the remaining 6.75 cents, a half cent goes to the San Joaquin countywide Measure K transportation endeavors while 6.25 cents goes to the State of California.
Based on last year’s taxable sales, a one cent sales tax increase would boost the city’s current general fund by almost 25 percent by adding $12 million to the $47 million the city has to pay for day-to-day services such as police, fire, streets, and parks as well as make it possible to leverage amenities.
Herrero, just like everyone else working to support a family, is facing a world turned upside down by the pandemic. That said he views now as the right time for the city to ask for an increase in sales tax. He wants to make sure Manteca has adequate funds at a minimum to maintain service levels as the city grows instead of one day being in a situation where Manteca is not even able to do that.
He wants his daughter and family to be safe and that is beyond just having police and fire to respond to emergencies. It includes being able to walk down sidewalks without having to worry about tripping, making sure there is adequate street lighting, keeping streets in good shape, and preventing crime instead of just responding to it among other things.
Approval of the measure puts citizens’ oversight committee in place to make sure the funds the extra cent in sales tax generates is spent appropriately.
The argument for Measure Z made by citizens pushing for passage stresses it will maintain and improve fire protection services, emergency response and disaster preparedness, safe and clean public places, pothole and street repair, crime prevention programs as well as local small business and jobs support.
Supporters note the measure “maintains critical youth and teen recreation and after-school programs including mentoring and tutoring that help keep them out of trouble and on the right track.”
Underscoring the support the tax measure has among some younger families is the fact Lance Elliot Jr. — the chairman of the Millennial Advisory Committee — is among those lending their name to the official ballot argument for Measure Z.
The committee advocating passage of the tax measure has a web page at yesmeasurez.com as well as a Facebook page dubbed “Yes on Measure Z”.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com