On November 27th, 29th, and December 4th of 2017, town hall meetings were held concerning the city budget of Sacramento. One of the city budget meetings was held in the Luther Burbank High School Auditorium on November 29th and the main discussion there focused around the effects of Measure U, a ballot measure that passed in November of 2012 with overwhelming voter support.

Measure U is a one-half cent sales tax that maintains and improves city services such as public safety, public health and wellness programs, city youth programs, and street paving. Measure U was designed to restore these city services that were cut between 2008 and 2013. The City of Sacramento estimated $30 million of revenue per year would result from Measure U’s passage and the sales tax took effect on April 1st, 2013 and will expire on March 31st, 2019.

The Sacramento City Council drafted a list of principles that limits where the resources of Measure U would invest in:

“Resources will be allocated to the protection and restoration of City programs/services specifically enumerated in the Measure U ballot question as follows:

1. Essential public safety services including, 9-1-1 response, police officers, gang/youth violence prevention, fire protection/emergency medical response.
2. Other essential services including park maintenance, youth/senior services and libraries.”

$4.9 million per year has been invested in parks and recreation services. There are now around 91 park employees in the field maintaining over 200 parks. Prior to Measure U, there were around 65 park employees. The frequency of restroom cleaning, trash pickup, weeding, edging and blowing in parks has increased and the response time for irrigation repairs has improved.

$12.6 million per year has been invested in police services. In the fiscal year of 2012 – 2013, there were around 653 sworn officers; now the Sacramento Police Department has around 708 police officers. 60 police officer are retained in their positions where they were previously funded by federal grants, which were expiring.

$11.7 million per year has been invested in fire services. A “Senior Fire Prevention Officer” position has been restored to provide more oversight and more business inspections with an associated higher level of revenue. The “Fire Internal Investigations” has been restored to give the community a place to lodge complaints; provide a thorough and impartial misconduct investigations; prevent future complaints through identification of misconduct trends; recommend training or policy changes.

$227,000 per year has been invested in animal care service. Two “Animal Control Officer” positions were added to the Animal enforcement and field services program to respond to service calls; administer the rabies program; pick up stray, injured, and abandoned animals; and to investigate cases of animal cruelty or neglect and nuisance complaints.

$506,000 per year has been invested in the Sacramento Public Library. Some library services will be restored.

“I support Measure U because we need investments in parks and recreation and in libraries as well,” said Sean Hanners, a concerned citizen of the Sacramento area.

For more information concerning the budget expense and park improvements of Measure U, visit the following URLs:

https://www.cityofsacramento.org/City-Manager/Major-Projects/MeasureU

https://www.cityofsacramento.org/ParksandRec/About/Measure-U