Utility-tax measure not stirring up any opposition

DALY CITY — As heated and controversial as the Daly City Council race has been this year, the campaign for Measure G is very much the opposite.

On Nov. 7, Daly City voters will decide on the measure, which would approve an already existing utility-users tax. The city had to put it on the ballot due to recent law changes requiring any general tax to be approved by voters, Daly City Manager Pat Martel said.

So far, there appears to be no opposition to the measure, which, if approved, would maintain the status quo.

Only a rejection of the measure would change anything for the city, which draws approximately $6 million of its $60-plus million general operating budget from the tax, said Don McVey, the city’s finance director.

“If it didn’t pass, the City Council would have to sit down and figure out how to rebalance the budget and make significant cuts,” McVey said.

An impartial analysis of the measure by former City Attorney Stan Gustavson, as presented on the League of Women Voters Web site, said, if approved, the 5-percent tax on communications, gas and electric services would continue and any change to the tax would need to be approved by voters.

Martel said the funds generated by the tax stay “100 percent” in Daly City and pay for such services as the police and fire departments, library services, senior services and park and city maintenance.

“If Daly City didn’t put this before the voters, we could be sued,” Martel said of the 1989 tax, which replaced a lighting and landscaping assessment that officials deemed inequitable because it only affected property owners.

Currently, there are exemptions for seniors and the disabled, and those would continue if Measure G passes. Martel said Pacifica, Redwood City, East Palo Alto and Portola Valley all have similar taxes, and the average household in Daly City pays $12 for it.

dsmith@examiner.com

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