Measure M

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In November of 2012, Vacaville voters approved Measure M, which was a ¼ cent transactions tax to maintain essential public services during the Great Recession.  The proceeds of Measure M were focused on returning the City’s General Fund Reserve to a safe level as determined by the Fund Reserve Council Policy and in maintaining essential services that would otherwise be cut or eliminated.  Measure M was assessed and collected beginning on April 1, 2013, and will expire March 31, 2018. 

Staff Report - Measure M - June 28, 2016 City Council Meeting - At the June 14, 2016 City Council meeting, the City Council requested staff to bring back additional information for consideration of a tax measure to renew and modify Measure M that was approved by the voters in 2012.  This measure would be for consideration of placement on the November 8, 2016 ballot.  This report provides a review of the impact of Measure M on the City’s finances, discussion of various continuing financial challenges and potential alternatives for a tax measure (or measures) for City Council consideration. PowerPoint presentation

Staff Report - Measure M - July 12, 2016 City Council Meeting - At the June 28, 2016, City Council meeting, the Council directed staff to prepare an ordinance to renew and modify the transactions and use tax, commonly referred to as Measure M, for placement on the November 8, 2016 ballot. This report discusses Measure M’s background and the process for renewing and extending the ordinance. PowerPoint presentation

Measure M Mailer - Mailer sent out to Vacaville homes and businesses the second week of July.


Actual and Estimated Collections 
Measure M collections

As shown, the Measure M ¼ cent sales tax has generated roughly $4.8 million annually for FY 2016.  Since Measure M is a transactions tax, it does not directly correlate to sales taxes, but the collections rate on Measure M has been very positive.

Sales Tax Rate Comparisons

City Sales Tax Rates

 City Sales Tax Rate   Plus Extra Rate  Total Sales Tax Rate
 Concord  7.500%  1.500%  9.000%
 Fairfield  7.625%  1.000%  8.625%
 Vallejo  7.625%  1.000%  8.625%
 Walnut Creek   7.500%  1.000%  8.500%
 Davis  7.500%  1.000%  8.500%
 Sacramento  7.500%  1.000%  8.500%
 West Sacramento  7.500%  0.500%  8.000%
 Napa  7.500%  0.500%  8.000%
 VACAVILLE  7.625%  0.250%  7.875%
 Suisun City  7.625%   0.000%*  7.625%
 Roseville  7.500%  0.000%  7.500%

* - Suisun City will have a 1 percent sales tax measure on the November 2016 ballot. 

When we add the transactions tax to the regular sales tax, you can see the City’s rate is still highly competitive to other shopping centers in the region.


Restoration of the General Fund Reserve was a major goal of the Measure M proceeds.  The chart below summarizes how the additional proceeds from Measure M combined with some one-time monies from the demise of redevelopment has allowed the General Fund Reserve to recover above the Council Policy of 2-3 months of expenses (roughly 16%-20%).

Measure M reserves

Capital – Fleet 
During the Great Recession, the City had to defer or delay its normal fleet turnover policy due to lack of funding.  However, after several years, the deferrals created a backlog of fleet items that were becoming unreliable and potentially unsafe to operate.  Measure M proceeds allowed for the City to begin replacing fleet items on a most needed basis and remove unsafe or inefficient assets from use.  In total, the City has replaced 98 vehicles at a cost of $6.2 million dollars since the inception of Measure M.  Below is a chart showing the replacements accomplished in our three largest departments.
 Department  No. of fleet replaced  Cost of Replacements
 Police  34  $1,045,756
 Fire  12  $3,101,757
 Public Works  29  $1,038,193

Capital – Buildings

In addition to fleet, the City had to defer significant capital maintenance during the Great Recession, which led to a backlog of past due needs.  Measure M proceeds allowed the City to add an additional staff member to provide ongoing maintenance to all the City’s buildings.  In addition, the City was able to replace a leaking roof on the City Hall, provide roof repairs and a bathroom remodel at one of the fire houses and paint two of the fire houses (total cost of $750,000). 

Considerable capital needs are still present and the City is looking for strategies to address those shortcomings in the coming five year forecast.  Some of those capital needs include replacement of the radio system used by Police, Fire, Public Works and Utilities daily, repairs and updates to the City’s many recreation facilities (Three Oaks, Georgie Duke, McBride Center among them), and replacement of the City’s financial system which is over 16 years old.

Capital – Infrastructure

Measure M proceeds have allowed the City to stop using gas tax funds to pay for street employees and instead focus all the gas tax directly into street maintenance projects.  The result is over $1 million redirected to street maintenance over the past three years and a new commitment to base failure repairs.

Other Measure M Impacts

Measure M proceeds have also allowed for the City to restore some service levels that were previously cut during the Great Recession.  In fiscal year 2016, the City was able to hire an economic development manager to provide the first dedicated staff member for economic development since 2011.  This position will focus on business attraction and retention in order to grow the City’s economy with additional jobs and revenues.


Measure M Extension Scenarios in the Five Year Forecast 

Extension scenarios

Street Maintenance - Striping

Historically this work occurred on a more regular basis with annual street overlay projects that included new striping. With the continued reduction of funding available to cities for street maintenance though our typical gas tax revenue stream, the recurrence of street repaving is sporadic at best.  

Chart showing gas tax collections over last 10 years

As a result, one thing that suffers, in addition to the pavement condition, is the striping.  This is a concern, especially at night, for drivers navigating through intersections, or trying to discern our particular traffic control intentions based on diminished striping patterns.  Our Public Works Maintenance staff was able to utilize $35,000 of Measure M revenues to completely replace the striping on our most heavily traveled roadways right before the busy summer season.

Over the past month Public Works Maintenance entered into a contract with Striping and Graphics to replace all of the reflectorized and non-reflectorized lane markers on our arterial streets and many major collectors streets.

Streets impacted by the striping:

  • Foxboro Parkway – Peabody Road to Youngsdale Drive (bots dots + refresh all arrows, Stop Legend, channeling lines and crosswalk (white only)
  • Davis Street – Bella Vista Road to Claremont Drive (bots dots only)
  • Nut Tree Road – Factory Stores to Nut Tree Parkway (bots dots only)
  • Orchard Avenue – Merchant Street to Albacete Drive (bots dots + refresh crosswalk at Merchant Street and refresh arrows before the intersection (white only))
  • Merchant Street – Alamo Drive to Camellia Way (bots dots + refresh all arrows, stop limit lines, pavement marking legends and crosswalks (from the east crosswalk at Alamo Drive including and up to the uncontrolled crosswalk at Camellia Way (all white))
  • Orange Drive – in front of “Sleep Train” and before “Applebee’s” – refresh the three “lane reduction arrows” (all white)
  • Vaca Valley Parkway @ I-80 over crossing as well pavement markers. 
  • Vaca Valley Parkway from North Station to E Monte Vista Avenue
  • Brown Valley  from Vaca Valley Parkway to Brown Street
  • Dobbins Street – Fruitvale Road to the bridge before Hemlock Street
  • Buck Avenue from Eldridge Avenue to Alamo Drive
  • Mason Street – Depot Street to Merchant Street
Cover of powerpoint of Measure M survey results

                     Survey of likely voters in Vacaville conducted in May 2016. 

Video of presentation of Survey Results at the June 14, 2016 City Council meeting.