This is the sixth of the Vanguard’s series of 11 questions. Every Monday until the week before election, we’ll have a new question and answers. Answers are limited to 250 words.
Question 7: Do you support the parcel taxes (H & I) for parks and roads? Explain why or why not. If not, explain how you propose the city fund infrastructure improvements to parks and roads.
I support both parcel tax measures on the June 5 ballot to take care of our city’s valuable infrastructure.
Measure H renews an existing $49 annual parks parcel tax that has been on the books for 20 years. It would help maintain the parks and greenbelts that Davis residents cherish and deserves our support.
Measure I enacts a new $99 annual parcel tax to patch our potholes. Even with state help from a state transportation funding package, our city lacks the funding needed to properly maintain our streets and roads and bike paths.
Measure I contains provisions I fought for that ensure more careful oversight and accountability for how these new funds are used. If existing city funds used for streets and roads are redirected to other purposes, the new parcel tax amount is automatically reduced to zero. Measure I also requires review by city commissions before expenditures of Measure H funds occur, and review of spending of the new tax monies after the fact, to ensure they are spent properly.
Even if voters approve these new revenues, it will be important for the City Council to move forward with additional steps, like cost containment and economic development, to develop a comprehensive and balanced solution to our $8 million annual funding gap. If you elect me to the City Council, I will use my expertise from 17 years of service as a state fiscal expert and four years as Finance and Budget Commissioner to identify the additional solutions we need.
Yes. I support the two tax measures, but they only address the symptoms, not the problem. I have two major concerns about them.
- I can afford them, but these added costs will be difficult for many in our community that already live close to the bone.
- The fact that we are passing additional tax measures in a robust economy is a sign of fundamental problems in our City’s finances: i.e. in a favorable economic environment, our expenses still exceed our revenue.
Our budget problems were created over the long term by circumstances beyond our control and choices we made with short-term objectives. We have got to do a better job controlling expenditures and we have got to do a better job increasing economic activity. The funding paradigm for City employee compensation has changed; our policies need to be updated to address those changes. Additionally, I believe we need to re-examine what attracts business to Davis and what deters it. We need to maximize what attracts and minimize what deters. I believe we can do this without gutting the progressive policies that give us our high quality of life, but we need to make sure those policies are achieving what they were put in place to do and not standing in the way of our own success.
Yes. I support both Measures H and I. Every day I walk our greenbelts and I see the sad state of the trees and shrubbery. For example, there are foxtails around the bases of many trees and around the park benches, unattended dead branches, and areas of lawn not mowed. Our parks and greenbelts are a major part of what we love about Davis. Renewal of this tax is the least we can do to keep and maintain our parks and greenbelts for now and for the future.
I have walked nearly three quarters of Davis talking to folks about my campaign. The poor state of our roads, bike paths, and sidewalks continues to be the number one issue I hear from people. Also, having properly maintained roadways, bike paths and sidewalks is essential for economic development because it facilitates movement of goods and people.
Yes to Parks, because I support quality parks, infrastructure and services for Davis. My worry is that the measure could fail due to voter concerns about City spending, transparency and accountability. Moving forward, my business experience and skills could be used help Davis grow revenues while containing unnecessary costs.
Yes to Roads, for the same reasoning as above. In addition, investing in our roads could help pay for itself by reducing maintenance costs.Walking door-to-door, the key issue for citizens has been ensuring the roads are painted, as they can be very difficult to see at night or when it is raining. Bike paths are also in need of repair, and pose significant risks to public safety until they are.
Mary Jo Bryan
I am supporting and voting yes on both parcel taxes (H&I) because I am committed to maintaining and preserving our parks, greenbelts, and open-space. In addition our roads, bike paths and walking trails are in great need of repair and maintenance. It’s these amenities that define our city and keep Davis, Davis.
Saying this, the parcel tax and other taxing methods should not be our primary source for new income. Our city needs to increase city revenue not just by raising taxes, but by increasing the quantity and diversity of Davis businesses. When revenue is increased by raising taxes, we need to remember that every dollar that a citizen pays in taxes is a dollar that can’t be used to purchase goods and services from the businesses in our local economy. The proposed parcel taxes will need a two-thirds vote to pass. So raising taxes should be used very carefully and sparingly.
To improve our city revenue we also need to forge a stronger and permanent partnership with the university, built on trust and transparency. We need a standing town/gown committee to work together for the betterment of both.
Council Candidate Weekly Question: Lawsuits against the City
Hello readers – We are in the middle of one of the most interesting and exciting election years in recent history. The Vanguard is bringing the election coverage like no one else. And we’ve brought on some additional help just to make sure we cover everything. We need to raise $1000 this month to help cover the bills. It’s a small campaign, but necessary. If you support our work – please donate a little bit to help us out.
To donate, hit this link: https://www.gofundme.com/may-vanguard-fundraiser