The City of San Rafael strives to protect the quality of life for all residents and to provide a safe, healthy, prosperous and livable environment in partnership with the community. Important priorities include safe neighborhoods, active community centers for our youth and seniors, emergency response services and providing social services to support our most vulnerable populations. These essential city services make San Rafael a desirable place to live, work, do business and retire.
Challenges Facing Our City
The City of San Rafael, along with many other cities across Marin County and the Bay Area, has been greatly affected from the COVID-19 pandemic and related steep downturn in economic activity. Currently, the City is projecting an $11.8 million deficit, putting many essential services at risk. To face these challenges, the City has implemented a cost-cutting plan that includes reducing city workers’ hours, hiring freezes, canceling recreation programs and delaying infrastructure maintenance. In addition to budget reductions, the City is also evaluating options for generating new funding. See the City’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan (CERP) for more detail.
Local Funding to Address Community Needs
The City of San Rafael recently commissioned a survey of local residents that measured 64% support for increasing the local sales tax rate to help preserve city services. On July 20, 2020, the San Rafael City Council unanimously voted to place a measure on the November ballot that would increase the local sales tax rate by one-quarter percent, for 9 years, to generate $3.4 million per year of locally controlled funding for city services, including:
- Providing disaster and health emergency preparedness
- Maintaining 911 emergency response times
- Repairing potholes and enhancing city streets
- Maintaining city parks and playgrounds
- Maintaining services and programs for youth, families and seniors
- Maintaining crime prevention programs and services
- Maintaining local services to help address homelessness
Strict Fiscal Accountability Requirements
A potential sales tax measure would require strict fiscal accountability protections, including:
- Every penny from the measure must stay in San Rafael and no funds can be taken away by Sacramento
- None of the money raised by the measure would be used for administrators’ salaries
- The measure requires a Citizens’ Oversight Committee to ensure funds are spent for the intended purposes
- A sales tax increase would be paid not just by San Rafael residents but also those who visit and shop in San Rafael
- Groceries, prescription medicine and other essential purchases are exempt from sales tax, which helps ensure the cost is not a burden to those on fixed incomes
Please let us know your priorities for San Rafael by completing our survey.