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Measure L has been placed on the November 8th ballot to secure voter authorization to clarify the City’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) Ordinance, allowing greater flexibility to improve city parks and complete future affordable housing projects. This measure WON’T increase taxes or tax rates, nor will it change TOT funding allocations. A YES vote supports clarifying the City’s ordinance to allow TOT funds to be used for construction and financing park improvements, and future affordable housing projects. A NO vote rejects the City’s proposal.
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“Shall the City of Healdsburg adopt an ordinance amending the City’s Transient Occupancy Tax to facilitate acquisition and construction of capital improvements for parks, community services facilities, and affordable housing, including payment of principal, interest, and cost of indebtedness, without altering any other mechanics or rates of the Transient Occupancy Tax?”
The City has identified public parks as a priority for further investment. Current City plans include redevelopment of Badger Park with expanded public access to the Russian River, and development of a new 36-acre park at the north end of town. In preparing a financing plan for these projects, the City identified TOT funds as a promising source for funding these major park improvements. Measure L proposes to clarify the City’s TOT ordinance, allowing the City to use TOT funds to finance the redevelopment of existing parks and facilities as well as construction of new parks and facilities and future affordable housing projects.
A Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), sometimes referred to as a “hotel tax” or “visitors tax,” is an assessment on all lodging transactions (including hotels, motels, resorts, inns, suites, and B&Bs). This assessment is charged to visitors that stay in local lodging establishments and is collected monthly from those local lodging establishments.
The City first adopted a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) or Hotel Tax in 1965, applying to all lodging establishments within Healdsburg. In 2002, the voters approved a ballot initiative that affirmed the City’s 10% TOT and restricted the proceeds of the TOT for the provision of community services. In 2004, voters approved a ballot measure increasing the TOT from 10% to 12%, with the additional 2% supporting General Fund services. In 2016, voters approved a ballot measure increasing the TOT rate by an additional 2% to 14%, restricting the additional 2% for affordable housing programs and services. Today’s TOT is 14%; 10% goes Community Services, including parks; 2% goes to affordable housing; and 2% goes to the City’s General Fund (NOTE: there is nothing in Measure L that would change these previous voter-approved allocations).
Specifically, passage of Measure L will allow the City to move forward with redevelopment of Badger Park, adding new amenities and access to the Russian River, as well as construction of a major new park at the north end of town. Without Measure L, these two major parks projects will take longer to complete and may need to be scaled back to stay within budget.
All voters living within Healdsburg city limits who are registered to vote by October 24 will be eligible to vote on Measure L.
This measure requires 2/3 (66.7%) voter support to pass.
Without Measure L, the ability to use TOT funds for capital improvements will remain unclear and the City will need to evaluate different approaches for financing the planned park projects. The projects will be delayed by several years and they may need to be scaled back to reduce overall costs.
Passage of Measure L would mean that the City’s revised TOT ordinance clarifying and increasing financial flexibility for use of the City’s TOT funding would be in place until ended by voters.
For more information, visit: www.healdsburg.gov or contact City Clerk Raina Allan by email firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 707-431-3316.