Two tax measures — one for a $260 million Manteca Unified bond to address aging schools and another to increase the City of Manteca sales tax by one cent — were leading in early returns .
Voters also were within a tenth of a percentage point of favoring empowering the Board of Supervisors to impose a tax on the cultivation and sale of marijuana within the unincorporated areas of San Joaquin County if they decide to make such ventures legal.
Measure Z that would generate $10 million a year to the City of Manteca’s general fund based on pandemic depressed sales tax collections was narrowly leading as of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. The yes votes were at 7,695 (50.56%) to the no votes at 7,524 (49.44%).
The sales tax requires a simple majority to pass.
Measure A that would impose a maximum property tax of $37 per $100,000 of assessed property valuation for a $260 million school bond was leading with 13,072 votes (57.26%) in favor to 9,757 votes (42.74%) against.
The bond measure requires a 55 percent approval.
Measure Z to impose the marijuana tax was leading 11,287 votes (66.52%) for with 5,681 votes (33.48%) against.
The measure requires a two thirds vote or 66.6 percent to pass
The City of Manteca two years ago was looking into a tax measure as a way to secure $80 million in community recreation amenities. A survey of city residents showed there was a much stronger stomach for funds to be generated to boost public safety and street maintenance prompting the decision to pursue a general sales tax measure.
In recent weeks as the economic fallout the City of Manteca is facing from COVID-19 protocols have become clearer the emphasis shifted to maintaining services. The 17 percent sales tax drop alone is expected to cost the general fund at least $2 million annually and the Measure M public safety tax that restricts expenditures to frontline police and firefighters by $1 million a year
The Measure M sales tax loss alone would mean seven police and/or firefighter positions of the 32 supported by the public safety tax are in jeopardy if current sales tax trends continue.
Measure A is designed to address critical infrastructure and aging classroom issues. If it passes it will provide the district with $260 million toward the $302.4 million in identified needs.
And nowhere are the needs as great as they are at Manteca and East Union high schools. If the two campuses had to be replicated today they would cost nearly $200 million apiece to replace.
The buildings on the Manteca High campus have an average composite age of 52 years with the largest amount of modernization needs in the district. It will require another $62 million to bring all classrooms and infrastructure up to grade due to wear and tear and functionality. The goal of Measure A — the goal is to make sure structures tax dollars are invested in will have at least another 50 years of useful life.
East Union still has $49 million worth of upgrades needed for other aging buildings on the East Union campus that includes 25 portables, gym issues, and “bone” issues behind the walls that you can’t see, among other issues that won’t be covered by Measure G work now under way. That does not include $45 million in education programming needs that includes things such as a theater and combing attendance with the administrative offices.
The school bond caps the cost to property taxpayers to $45 per $100,000 per assessed value. That’s a far cry from March when the bond failed to reach the 55 percent threshold needed for approval. The cap was $60 per $100,000 at the time.
The difference is the more favorable bond market due to the pandemic as well as the district’s financial rating being considered extremely appealing when compared to most other school districts and government agencies such as cities and counties.
And given the last series of the Measure G bonds ended up costing property owners $37 instead of $60 per $100,000 in assessed evaluation, the chances are good if the bonds are approved the actual cost to homeowners and other property owners will be less than $45 per $100,000 evaluation.
Measure X will initially impose a 3.5 percent tax on annual gross receipts of cannabis businesses if they are allowed within San Joaquin County. The supervisors would have the power to take the annual tax rate as high as 8 percent. Supervisors are also the ones that have the power to make commercial marijuana operations legal in the unincorporated areas of San Joaquin County.
In addition if the county allows commercial cultivation Measure X would impose an annual $2 per square foot tax for licensed cultivation space.
The taxes would be restricted under Measure X and placed in a special fund. It requires 50 percent of proceeds to be placed in a Children’s Trust Fund and used only for early childhood education and other programs that benefit youth and children. The other 50 percent will be used for services that promote public health, homeless mitigation, and enforcement of cannabis codes.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org