UPDATED! Nov. 5 Special Election Information
South Pasadena will have a special election November 5, 2019 with two local measures on the ballot.
Tuesday, Nov. 5 is Election Day!
Important Voting Information:
There will be three Polling Places within South Pasadena on Election Day (only):
- War Memorial Building, 435 Fair Oaks Ave. Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Library Community Room, 1115 El Centro. Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1919 Huntington Dr. Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Vote-By-Mail Ballots can be:
- Returned by mail (no postage is necessary)
- Returned to the City Clerk's Office at City Hall, 1414 Mission St., 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
- Returned to any of the official Vote By Mail Ballot Drop Off Locations (within L.A. County). Find a drop-off location here.
Information about Measure A:
WHY DOES THE CITY NEED TO INCREASE REVENUE?
The City is facing increases in operating costs, unfunded pension liabilities, infrastructure and technology. The City has been fiscally conservative with salaries, benefits and a low number of staff positions relative to other cities. Even with these steps South Pasadena’s General Fund is facing a deficit of about $1 million a year that is expected to grow to $2 million a year in 5 years.
WHAT HAS THE CITY DONE TO CONTROL EXPENSES SO FAR?
South Pasadena offers the lowest possible pension formula (2% at 55) which has kept the City's costs lower when compared to cities that pay 2.5%, 2.7% or even 3.0% at 50. The City also controls its pension costs by controlling the number of employees. In the last five years, the city has increased the number of full-time staff by only three positions. South Pasadena has roughly .5 employees per 1,000 residents. In comparison, cities with larger budgets, such as Pasadena, have 1.3 employees per thousand residents, or more than twice the ratio of South Pasadena. The scope and scale of South Pasadena’s government has remained focused and efficient within the available budget.
IF SOUTH PASADENA DOES NOT PUT A SALES TAX MEASURE ON THE BALLOT, WILL THE CITY’S SALES TAX INCREASE IN THE FUTURE?
The State has a sales tax cap of 10.25%. If South Pasadena voters approve the proposed measure, local sales tax will reach that cap. However, if voters do not pass a measure and South Pasadena’s sales tax rate remains less than 10.25%, then any other sales tax adopted by County voters could be assessed on South Pasadena. Funds assessed for County projects would not be dedicated to South Pasadena services.
WHAT OTHER REVENUE OPTIONS IS THE CITY CONSIDERING?
The City Council recently adopted a Financial Sustainability Plan that calls for several short- and long-term revenue options and strategies. The sales tax was identified as a priority because of the urgent need to close the budget deficit and the fact that the sales tax is paid by out of town visitors as well as residents. Other revenue options include economic development and the reuse of City properties that are not currently generating revenue. However, these recommendations would not cover the entire deficit and may take years to develop.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT BREAKDOWN OF SOUTH PASADENA’S SALES TAX?
The current sales tax in South Pasadena is 9.5%, of which South Pasadena gets 1%. The remainder goes to the State, County, and regional agencies. Of the millions locally generated every year in South Pasadena, only $2 million returns locally. Every cent of the 3/4 cent sales tax proposed by the local sales tax measure would stay in South Pasadena to provide essential services.
ARE OTHER LOCAL COMMUNITIES ADOPTING SIMILAR MEASURES?
Since 2016, about 27 cities in Los Angeles County have received voter approval for additional increases in sales and use taxes. Thirteen cities have passed increases since November 2018, including the cities of Burbank, Glendale, Pomona, Pasadena, Glendora, and Arcadia. The cities of Sierra Madre, Claremont, Irwindale and Monrovia have also placed similar measures on the November 2019 ballot.
IF THE CITY HAS A DEFICIT, WHY IS IT DOING STREET REPAIRS?
The City receives revenue from property taxes, sales tax, permit and citation fees, state and federal funds, grants, and restricted funds. While property tax and sales tax can be used for any purpose, grants and restricted funds may only be used for specific purposes like road repairs, park improvements, or sanitation operations. Many infrastructure projects, such as the upcoming Monterey Road improvements, are funded with restricted grant funds and a relatively small portion of general fund contributions. Others, like the Graves Reservoir rehabilitation, are being funded through bonds and restricted revenue from water operations.
Important voting links:
Ballot Measure Description and Analysis:
Sales Tax Ballot Measure A: South Pasadena Public Safety, City Services, and Accountability Measure
- Resolution No. 7614 Calling for the Placement of a General Tax Measure
- City Attorney Impartial Analysis: Measure A - Sales Tax Measure
- Argument In Favor - Measure A
Ballot Measure C: Conversion of the Elected City Clerk Position to the Appointive Position of Chief City Clerk
- Resolution No. 7621 Submission to the Voters of an Ordinance to Convert the elective Office of City Clerk
- City Attorney Impartial Analysis: Measure C - Appointive City Clerk