Monday Morning Thoughts: City Fiscal Picture More Fixable than Schools

Yesterday’s Sunday Commentary breaks down the school district’s long term fiscal picture – and based on that I conclude that, long term, we are in trouble trying to resolve the school district’s finances.  We might be able to, through a parcel tax in 2020, forestall immediate problems, but without structural changes to how districts are financed and without commitment from the state, we are probably fighting a losing battle.

Ironically, while the city’s fiscal picture remains vexing, I do believe it is more solvable long term than the school district’s.  That is not to paint a rosy picture locally.

We figure that, over a 20-year period, the city is probably over $200 million behind on infrastructure ranging from roads to parks.  The city has managed to balance its budget over the last ten years by removing such spending from consideration and greatly slowing the growth of the budget.

But there is going to be pressure on the city to increase compensation which has largely been flat for the last decade.  And we have had the benefit of a decade worth of positive economic growth that most experts believe will end at some point in the relatively near future.

The challenge for the city will be how to close that gap and manage future downturns in the economy.

The good news is, while that will be a major challenge, it is doable.

We need to look at this in terms of three planks: cost containment, tax increases, and revenue generation.

On cost containment.  I disagree with those who don’t believe we have done it over the last ten years.  Have we done enough?  Probably not.  I’ll grant that.  But following the recession, we reduced our workforce by nearly a quarter and we have kept it that way for the best part of a decade.

While we have not completely capped spending increases, we have greatly reduced them over the decade of 2000 to 2009.

On the other hand, I don’t believe the right solution is to reduce spending further by $10 million a year.  That will cut deeply into city services and cause the city to have to close parks and greenbelts, and probably leave streets and bike paths in disrepair.

I don’t view cost containment as a tool that we are going to use to directly balance the total budget.  Instead, I believe it has to be used to slow the growth enough to allow revenue growth to close the gap.

That’s a big difference from what we did 2000 to 2008, when basically the city was growing revenue in double-digits each year but increasing spending even faster.

Second, long term we are not going be able to tax our way to solving the budget problem.  But taxes are an important tool.  A modest TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax) tax increase, for example, has increased our TOT take to $2.5 million before we have opened two new major hotels in town.  The new hotels coming on line with the expansion of the University Park Inn is projected to generate another $1.4 million in the next three years.

The one percent sales tax is up for renewal – that accounts for between $7 and $8 million in annual revenue.

The one measure that the city does need to undertake is the roads tax.  In 2018, that measure failed by garnering 57 percent of the vote and needing 66.7 percent.    That would add about $3 million to the annual roads needs.

Finally, economic development needs to be looked at to bridge the rest of that gap.

I think the first point that should be made here is that economic development is not all about ARC (Aggie Research Campus, formerly MRIC or Mace Ranch Innovation Center).  That’s an important piece, but it’s not the whole picture.

The city has added several cannabis dispensaries and already they are projected to add about half a million to the tax rolls.  That is without having the stores all open and/or the industry mature.

Second, as mentioned, the two new hotels and the expansion of the University Park Inn are expected to add about $1.4 million in TOT over the next three years.

Then you have the Downtown Plan which could add tax revenue from sales, property and economic development.  You have the potential expansion of Sierra Energy as well as the University Research Park.

But we need ARC for a number of important reasons to close this circle and complete the picture.

When the city did an analysis of available commercial space, they found about 125 vacant acres in the city.  But when we looked at the availability of that land, we found about 50 acres truly available, most of it small.  There is only the one 14-acre site around Cowell and it is not clear that that would be developed any time soon.

Forget adding sites – just as big a threat is losing key properties.  AgraQuest/Bayer left Davis in 2013 because we lacked available land for their growth needs.  The same may happen with Schilling Robotics.  Others may leave as well.

That means a loss of current revenue plus the loss of potential increased future revenue generated by growth.

People worry that ARC is big and could lead to sprawl.  But the reality is this.  First, ARC would come in at roughly 200 acres.  It would most likely solve our economic development needs for the next 20 to 50 years.  It does so on land surrounded by conservation easements.

It is not going to lead to sprawl because the land around is locked into conservation easements.

Estimates for revenue are going to vary.  I have seen $2 million a year on the low end.  I could see with CFDs (Community Facilities Districts) and other revenue generation, easily in the $5 to $10 million range.

If you couple that revenue generation with cost containment that holds our growth in city costs to the rate of inflation, the renewal of parks and sales tax, and the addition of a roads tax, I think you end up in a place where we can manage our budget, maintain our services and pay for our infrastructure in a way that doesn’t irreparably alter this community.

It is a simple calculation, and yet, this is what we are likely to debate over the coming six months to a year.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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210 Comments

  1. Ron Glick

    Driving down 505 Saturday I noticed new houses being built north of Genentech and the Kaiser Hospital there. This is the future. You build the economic infrastructure and the housing nearby to limit commute distances for the workers.

    One thing you left out and that I don’t think has gotten enough attention is how much money the city spends on needless high priced consultants. My guess is its a million dollars or more a year on consultants. How much of that is needless is anyone’s guess.

    1. Alan Miller

      What is worse than a government worker?

      Answer:  A consulting firm that lives off government contracts.

      “Fight the Real Enemy!” —
      Sinéad O’Connor

  2. Alan Miller

    City:  Doomed

    Schools:  Super Doomed

    Answer:  Run . . . to Canada

    Or, the ARC!  Like Noah, Ramos will save the City with an ARC.  And God said unto Ramos, gather the Innovative Businesses, two-by-two.  Then wait for the levy on the Yolo Causeway to crack near I-80.  And then the real question:  will the ARC then float?

    But seriously, folks:  Has anyone calculated that, if the ARC will “most likely solve our economic development needs for the next 20 to 50 years”, are there any numbers that show that the ARC in any way has the potential to un-doom both the City and the School District?    “Meant as a serious question” — to quote another common commenter.

    1. David Greenwald

      Given how schools are funded, the answer is most likely no.  There is direct nexus between local property taxes and school funding.

      1. Alan Miller

        OK, schools super doomed.

        Any idea how much potential ARC has in closing the budgetary gap with the City?  I am just wondering how much the touted ‘economic development’ could really have in ‘solving’ this.  Not doubting, just wondering the potential.

      2. Bill Marshall

        There is direct nexus between local property taxes and school funding.

        I assume you mean,

        There is direct nexus between local property parcel taxes, and local school funding.

        Locally generated general property taxes has little to no nexus to local school funding… the basic property tax generated in Davis could triple, but additional use of the increment, that the State passes on to Davis schools, would probably be de minimus.

        As I understand it… might be wrong…

        1. Mark West

          “There is direct nexus between local propertyparceltaxes, andlocal school funding.”

          And consequently there is a direct nexus between school funding and an expansion in the number of parcels in town, as would be expected with the development of a new subdivision. Residential development would increase revenues for the District, and as there is already a surplus of school facilities in town, we could add significant new population growth without requiring new school construction.

        2. Bill Marshall

          De minimus Mark… what would generate more revenues, that were significant, is more school-age kids… parcel taxes pale in comparison to ADA, a point David and others have repeatedly pointed out.

          If new development did not add more school age kids, the additional parcel taxes would help to only a limited extent…

        3. Mark West

          Bill – Would you expect the percentage of households in town with children to change after the new construction? If not, then the new housing would create both new parcel taxes and a similar percentage expansion in the ADA. Not de minimus.

        4. Bill Marshall

          A housing prices increase, wages/and salaries lagging, yes

          Would you expect the percentage of households in town with children to change after the new construction?

          that is exactly what I’d expect… look at historical trends, over the last 15-20 years… not saying none, but am saying it is reasonable to assume the percentages will go down in new development alone, and with the community aging, that will reinforce that trend significantly in existing residential development.

        5. Mark West

          “that is exactlywhat I’d expect”

          If we are discussing more 5-10,000sf McMansions or another senior-only development, I might agree with you. If instead, we were to build a neighborhood of 1500-2500sf rowhouses situated near a neighborhood park we might induce an entirely different outcome.

        6. Bill Marshall

          Mark… understood… but,

          If instead, we were to build a neighborhood of 1500-2500 sf rowhouses situated near a neighborhood park we might induce an entirely different outcome.

          Name any that have been proposed/built in Davis, meeting that idyllic model, in the last 25 years…  we don’t build any residential… we can facilitate, but good luck forcing that… there’s probably a good reason it has not been proposed… or built.  Called market

          And your SF # is interesting… I was raised in a 850 SF detached house… we did most of the raising of our family in a 1350 SF 3 bd/2 ba house…

          Your premise of “if”, sure sounds quixotic.  Too many obvious flaws…

          Unless you have a legacy game, SimCity…

        7. Mark West

          Bill – I think your premise is simply wrong and that if we build more of the same housing that is currently ‘typical’ of Davis that the percentage of school-age children will be roughly unchanged. What will directly impact that however is a failure to build sufficient apartments to meet the housing demand of students and young workers, much as we have witnessed in town the past two decades.

          I too was raised in a small house (950sf) with three siblings, but I have no desire to return to those days. I was however quite comfortable living in an 1800 sf two-story rowhouse in Baltimore with our two young kids and see that form of living as being appropriate for the market here. The problem is that nearly everywhere you look in California are communities filled with sprawling ranch homes – since buildable land for housing was relatively plentiful at the time the communities were planned. We do not have to continue with that approach, and we should not if we are interested in being conscientious to the environment while also providing opportunities for appropriate housing for all residents of the region. Changing our approach to zoning in order to incentivize the building of smaller, attached, homes with greater densities is in my view the appropriate way forward.

  3. Ron Oertel

    Ron G.  “Driving down 505 Saturday I noticed new houses being built north of Genentech and the Kaiser Hospital there. This is the future.”

    There’s nothing “new” regarding sprawling developments alongside of freeways.  That’s why traffic conditions “are what they are”, today.  And, getting worse.

    Soon, 505 will no longer be the “go to” freeway, for those looking for a bypass around I-80.

    The powers that be are also working on mucking-up the previously lightly-used Highway 113, including but not limited to this development:

    http://woodlandresearchpark.org/

    And since I-80 is already a parking lot much of the time, a lot of traffic to/from MRIC would go right through town. (For those who aren’t backing up the freeway ramps, at I-80.)

    1. Bill Marshall

      Ron… you are aware that 505 @ 4 lanes, wasn’t built to achieve LOS A for motorists using 5 and 80, right?   Same for 113.

      Think.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Your point?

        I can tell you that 505 is being used to avoid traffic on I-80.  Seems that you agree it’s being used in ways it wasn’t designed for.

        Were any of these freeways (anywhere) “designed” for the type of sprawl that’s occurring (as developers take advantage of the access they provide – until they’re choked with traffic, and beyond)? 

        Or, for the cell-phone applications which search out ways to bypass traffic in areas where freeways are already backed up?

        Again, what was your point in responding to my comment, in the first place?

  4. Ron Oertel

    From article:  “Yesterday’s Sunday Commentary breaks down the school district’s long term fiscal picture – and based on that I conclude that, long term, we are in trouble trying to resolve the school district’s finances.  We might be able to, through a parcel tax in 2020, forestall immediate problems, . . .”

    As noted repeatedly – the proposed, new parcel tax is solely intended to raise teacher’s salaries.  It has nothing to do with the school district’s fiscal picture.

     

    1. Hiram Jackson

      Ron Oertel: “As noted repeatedly – the proposed, new parcel tax is solely intended to raise teacher’s salaries.  It has nothing to do with the school district’s fiscal picture.”

      Probably in the short term it’s not as apparent, but definitely in the longer term it has a lot more to do with the district’s fiscal picture.

      Higher salaries attract a larger talent pool of teachers willing to stay.  It’s better to have teachers with long term commitment and experience.  The longer they stay, the likelier they are to sustain institutional memory and develop relationships and connections with the community.  Long term it makes the district more attractive to families and students to enroll and to stay.  In a fiscal environment, more students = more money from the state.  It also becomes a factor for attracting and keeping a sustainable city population.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Hiram:  One can refer to all of the comments regarding this from yesterday.  But again, teachers would likely compare salary and working conditions in other places, before deciding whether or not it’s worth taking a job in another district.  As noted yesterday, for example, Sacramento schools were on the verge of being taken over by the state due to fiscal mismanagement.

        There’s also no way to know the “quality” of the teachers who might pursue jobs elsewhere.

        Also noted yesterday is the fact that school districts which perform more poorly receive MORE money from the state.  So, if DJUSD performance starts to dip (for any reason), they would receive more money from the state.

        The bottom line is that the articles that David is presenting provide zero evidence (NONE, in fact), that an increase in teacher salaries at this time is needed to maintain the quality of Davis schools.

        Again, unless there’s an unusually large number of unfilled vacancies at DJUSD, there’s no evidence that insufficient salary is a factor in any way, shape or form at this point.

        1. Ron Oertel

          And frankly, in a “declining-enrollment” environment, fewer teachers (and possibly schools) will be needed at some point.

          Of course, that reality will continue to be actively resisted, by some.

      2. Hiram Jackson

        Ron:  “The bottom line is that the articles that David is presenting provide zero evidence (NONE, in fact), that an increase in teacher salaries at this time is needed to maintain the quality of Davis schools.”

        As a specific example of the desirability of keeping and retaining teachers relative to program quality, DJUSD has a 20-year veteran orchestra teacher who helped to build enrollments first in JH orchestra program, and then at Davis HS.  Now it’s a very good and high quality program compared to before, and there are some students whose families move to and enroll in the Davis district in significant part to participate in the district’s orchestra program.  The same kind of phenomenon can be found with the district’s robotics program, the high school audition choirs (notably Madrigals) and other programs.  None of these develop within one year or even within 5 years.

        Some districts have tried to recruit some of those teachers who have developed those programs.  Fortunately, many have stayed in spite of the fact that they could get more money elsewhere.  But when the pay differential becomes great enough, it becomes more difficult to keep them.  Where it becomes even more challenging is when those teachers retire, it is more difficult to attract younger talent that can sustain programs such as those described.

        Because of the increasing costs of higher education, young adults (including younger teachers) are likelier to have more student debt (both as a total $ amount and percentage of income).

        As for quality of schools, do you mean standardized test scores?  That alone is not going to attract families to the district.  Rather they will look at programs and opportunities in the district, and see what’s attractive.

        “So, if DJUSD performance starts to dip (for any reason), they would receive more money from the state.”

        What do you refer to when you say performance?  Standardized test scores?

        Have you had kids in public schools?  In Davis?  Elsewhere?  Did you choose where to enroll your kids based specifically on school standardized test scores?  Or were there other factors?

        As I said elsewhere, I think standardized test scores and the way that they are used in education policy are mostly a sham.

        The state accountability measures (standardized test scores) have not corresponded well with local community values.  I don’t think it’s worth it to expect the state to come rescue us.  Do you?

        1. Ron Oertel

          “As a specific example of the desirability of keeping and retaining teachers relative to program quality, DJUSD has a 20-year veteran orchestra teacher who helped to build enrollments first in JH orchestra program, and then at Davis HS.”

          That’s probably a perfect example of someone who wouldn’t leave, for a few more dollars. (And actually, I’m not even sure how many more dollars we’re talking about, for examples such as this.)

          “Where it becomes even more challenging is when those teachers retire, it is more difficult to attract younger talent that can sustain programs such as those described.”

          Again, I’d ask if there’s currently an unusually large number of unfilled vacancies, compared to other districts.  But again, if enrollment is declining, that would suggest a need for fewer teachers, in the future.

          “Because of the increasing costs of higher education, young adults (including younger teachers) are likelier to have more student debt (both as a total $ amount and percentage of income).”

          Probably true, and perhaps a reason to not become a teacher anywhere (if one is counting solely on that to overcome those factors). But, not a Davis-specific issue.

          “As for quality of schools, do you mean standardized test scores?  That alone is not going to attract families to the district.  Rather they will look at programs and opportunities in the district, and see what’s attractive.”

          Why would Davis need to purposefully “attract families”, in particular?  To fill the schools?

          “The state accountability measures (standardized test scores) have not corresponded well with local community values.  I don’t think it’s worth it to expect the state to come rescue us.  Do you?”

          I don’t know what “local community values” are, or how receiving additional money from the state might “compromise” those values.

        2. Hiram Jackson

          [student debt of younger adults]

          Probably true, and perhaps a reason to not become a teacher anywhere (if one is counting solely on that to overcome those factors). But, not a Davis-specific issue.

          But a bigger burden when Davis district compensation is often less than other districts.

          I don’t know what “local community values” are, or how receiving additional money from the state might “compromise” those values.

          As we entered the 2008 recession, state education mandates (which included sustaining high standardized test scores to meet the expectations of No Child Left Behind) tended to dictate that Davis schools cut back on music, arts, athletics, libraries, and accessibility to take a variety of classes and programs that tend to help students get into and complete college and succeed in life.  Fortunately DJUSD was able to sustain those things throughout those years.

          The state continues to see things in terms of standardized test scores.  Although Davis schools generally perform well as a whole on those standardized tests, Davis families usually have other expectations described above and are not focused on those scores.

          Is it different where you live?

        3. Mark West

          “Now it’s a very good and high quality program compared to before…”

          I agree that the current director of the orchestra program at the HS is quite good, and that he has built an outstanding program. He, however, did not create that program from scratch but rather built upon the expectations and work of others, one in particular whose name happens to be on a building on campus. The expectations for a high quality music program in town predate the current faculty by a few decades. Some of the current faculty do a better job living up to those expectations than do others.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Hiram:  “But a bigger burden when Davis district compensation is often less than other districts.”

          Compared to what – the Bay Area? (I don’t think so.)

          Given their salary, perhaps young teachers shouldn’t be discouraged from living where they still encourage sprawl (pretty much everywhere in the valley), families are relocating to, and where housing is (somewhat) less-expensive.

          I’m not seeing the “problem”, at least as far as Davis is concerned. (Now, if you want to talk about the problems I see elsewhere . . .)

        5. Hiram Jackson

          Mark West: “He, however, did not create that program from scratch but rather built upon the expectations and work of others, one in particular whose name happens to be on a building on campus.”

          Agreed.  In turn, although Dick Brunelle gets much deserved credit for his work in this community, there was fertile soil provided him by previous generations of teachers and community members. May the tradition continue long after we’re gone…

        6. Hiram Jackson

          Ron: I’m not seeing the “problem”, at least as far as Davis is concerned. 

          I don’t think you’ve been following DJUSD School Board meetings recently.  There is plenty more data on this topic in board packets.  And for someone not living in Davis, it likely wouldn’t seem like a local problem.

        7. Ron Oertel

          Hiram:  My comment was in reference to Davis.  I wouldn’t make any other assumptions, if I were you.

          Regarding what’s going on at DJUSD meetings, you’re free to elaborate.

           

           

  5. Rik Keller

    Greenwald states “It [MRIC/ARC] would most likely solve our economic development needs for the next 20 to 50 years.”

    This statement is completely unsupported by any evidence/analysis. A realistic analysis of the actual fiscal benefit to the City would come in at maybe a couple hundred thousand $ annually before the full impact of the induced residential development is taken into account.

  6. Mark West

    “maybe a couple hundred thousand $ annually…”

    One new business similar to Mori Seki would be expected to produce in excess of this level of net income for the City. Rik’s claim has no basis in reality. ARC is roungly 10x the size of Mori Seki.

    “induced residential development…”

    The need/demand for additional residential development already exists in town, so any additional induction of demand will not be significant. Done well, residential development, including detached single family homes, have a net neutral fiscal impact for the City. High-density multifamily housing, especially as mixed-use with ground floor retail as is proposed at ARC, will be a net positive source of revenues for the City.

    1. Rik Keller

      Mark West:

      1) you forget that most tenants of a research/business park will not have taxable sales at levels anywhere near a manufacturing concern like Mori Seki

      2) unlike you, I have actually done analysis of the numbers in the preliminary fiscal impact report for MRIC. And even with the inflated and overly optimistic numbers in that report (which include, among other things, assumptions of  property valuations and lease rates many times more than regional averages), Greenwald’s assertions are in no way based on reality.

      3) Davis is already a net importer of commuters, and further unbalancing the jobs/housing balance here goes against stated SACOG policy and the City’s responsibilities to provide workforce housing.  One interesting thing to note further: the EIR done for MRIC strangely only considered the jobs/housing balance within city limits—ignoring UC Davis entirely—thus coming to the opposite conclusion about the jobs/housing balance here. That analysis is dead in the water and wouldn’t withstand any kind of judicial scrutiny.

      1. Mark West

        “you forget that most tenants of a research/business park will not have taxable sales at levels anywhere near a manufacturing concern like Mori Seki”

        No, I did not forget that, and I don’t dispute the statement, but it is worth remembering that Mori Seki started out as a research arm and subsequently added the manufacturing component. A research park with available buildable land would offer the opportunity to repeat that approach.

         “unlike you, I have actually done analysis of the numbers in the preliminary fiscal impact report for MRIC.”

        Woohoo! I hope you enjoyed it. With your obvious and frequently expressed bias against development, I am sure the community is waiting with bated breath to hear your conclusions. I, for one, will wait for the impartial assessments that are sure to come.

        “That analysis is dead in the water and wouldn’t withstand any kind of judicial scrutiny.”

        I feel certain that you and your friends will attempt to prove this point in court, but until then, it is only your ‘not very impartial’ opinion.

        1. Rik Keller

          Mark West: rather than waiting (or even believing someone like me who has an advanced degree in the field and who has conducted & critiqued numerous such studies professionally), why don’t you look at the numbers in the report yourself and tell us why you think the valuations/expected rents that form the basis for City revenue projections are several times more in magnitude than actual regional market rates? What does this tell you about realistic projections for City revenue?

          And, while you are at it, why don’t you tell us your theory about why the EIR states that Davis has a jobs/housing imbalance in terms of a deficit of jobs when the opposite is true?

        2. Mark West

          “rather than waiting (or even believing someone like me who has an advanced degree in the field and who has conducted & critiqued numerous such studies professionally)”

          Rik – I did not question your training or expertise, rather I addressed your obvious bias. There is no reason to view your comments as anything other than political advocacy. That said, in my experience, those who are true ‘experts’ have little need to ‘trumpet their own horns.’

          For my part, I make no claim of expertise so my analysis of the numbers would be of no value.

          “What does this tell you about realistic projections for City revenue?”

          I have not seen any realistic projections for City revenue, just gross estimates and marketing mumbo jumbo coming from both on the pro and con sides. We might have an interesting discussion once we have impartial assessments and projections to work with. I will point out though that the revenue projections in advance of the Target decision, projections that were slammed by the ‘con’ side as being unrealistic, have largely held true. It really isn’t rocket science after all.

          “why don’t you tell us your theory about why the EIR states that Davis has a jobs/housing imbalance in terms of a deficit of jobs when the opposite is true?”

          I’m not the one making claims about the EIR so I have no reason to present a theory, one way or the other. I’m happy to wait for the Judge to decide.

        3. Rik Keller

          Mark West: you are confusing claims made in the fiscal impact analysis and the EIR. I have already provided substantial evidence in previous commentary supporting my claims about the fiscal impact analysis. You are welcome to look that up and refute it should you choose. In previous discussions you instead just claimed that these issues had been already discussed (they haven’t: the application was previously withdrawn before the materials could be vetted).

          You could also spend about 1 minute confirming that the EIR does indeed state that Davis has a jobs deficit. There’s a big question why you wouldn’t want the EIR to accurately analyze the impacts of the proposed development . Instead you make a snide remark about “my friends” and about waiting for a judge.

        4. Mark West

           “you are confusing claims made in the fiscal impact analysis and the EIR.”

          I’m not confused, Rik, though it is clear that you are. Let me state it again, your analysis is suspect due to your obvious bias. A bias that you have expressed overtly on this site and elsewhere, repeatedly. I make no claims of refutation over the specifics of your analysis. As I stated more than once, I am waiting for the impartial analysis.

          “In previous discussions you instead just claimed that these issues had been already discussed (they haven’t: the application was previously withdrawn before the materials could be vetted).”

          I have made no such claims. I stated that early on in the discussion (on this site) there were some very rough estimates (‘back of the envelope’ was how I described them) proposed and discussed. It was you who attempted to place greater import on those estimates than was ever intended as a ‘strawman’ attempt at refutation. More of your false narrative.

          “You could also spend about 1 minute confirming …”

          I could, but why would I? I’m not concerned about what is in the EIR at this point so that would be a minute poorly spent. This is your issue Rik, not mine.

          “Instead you make a snide remark about “my friends” and about waiting for a judge.”

          It is your friends of the ‘no’ persuasion who have the documented history of bringing lawsuits against the City, the community, and project developers. That is their right (and yours), and I will wait for a Judge to determine if you are in fact, right. I claim no expertise.

      2. Ron Oertel

        Rik:  There’s no evidence that there’s even any interest from commercial tenants, at this point. Nor is there anything preventing false claims (or sweetheart deals) to make it “appear” that there’s interest.

        Frankly, there probably aren’t enough businesses around to fill both the Woodland innovation center “and” MRIC. Perhaps not even enough for one of them.

        It’s going to take a lot of “incentives” to land businesses.

        1. Mark West

          “There’s no evidence that there’s even any interest from commercial tenants…”

          Some in town have an aversion to facts. If even one business leaves town due to the lack of buildable land available for the company’s expansion then you cannot claim that there is no interest or demand from commercial tenants. We are not talking about filling a bunch of cheap spec warehouse buildings with tenants, but rather creating appropriately zoned parcels in the City that allow companies the space needed to build their own facilities.

        2. David Greenwald

          Mark as I pointed out to him last week, three major companies landed in Davis in the last year – ADM, Mars and one more.  But there’s no interest.

        3. Mark West

          “three major companies landed in Davis in the last year”

          And another is now leaving due to the lack of suitable land, just as they warned us a few years ago.

        4. Ron Oertel

          “And another is now leaving due to the lack of suitable land, just as they warned us a few years ago.”

          And, they will continue to do so (e.g., to West Sacramento, Woodland, Dixon, etc.) regardless of what is proposed at MRIC.

          Even Mori Seiki required significant “concessions”, to locate in Davis.

          Now, if you want a housing development, that’s something that has unique “value” in Davis (in developers’ eyes).

        5. Ron Oertel

          I’m tempted to provide a link to Queen’s “Another one bites the dust”, regarding conversions of commercial sites for residences – some without even so much as a fake “mixed use” claim to make it more “palatable”.

          But, let’s just provide this link/example, instead:

          https://www.davisenterprise.com/local-news/demolition-work-begins-monday-in-preparation-for-new-chiles-road-apartment-complex/

          Of course, there’s also sites around town that have been, or will be converted to housing, along with the complete elimination of commercial space at the other “innovation center” sites.

        6. Bill Marshall

          You funny, Ron… much of the Core area and surrounding areas were originally residential… but Freddie and Queen weren’t around to sing about it…

        7. Ron Oertel

          Bill:  Probably true, but at a very low density. Regardless, some are attempting to make that area “residential” again, as well.

          Regardless, it’s pretty obvious that commercial demand is not what’s driving the MRIC developers to pursue their proposal. It remains to be seen, if the city sticks with the original justification for an innovation center. If not, I’m sure that they’re going to have a fight on their hands.

        8. Mark West

          “Even Mori Seiki required significant “concessions”, to locate in Davis.”

          The City receives far more net revenue from the site today than it did when it was a weedy former tomato farm, so the concessions sound like they were a sound investment.

          1. David Greenwald

            They yielded one-time concessions for moving in and they get what appears to be over $1 million annually for property and sales taxes. Seems like a good deal.

        9. Ron Oertel

          According to the Vanguard itself, Mori Seiki contributes less than $86K per year in property taxes.

          I’m not sure how sales tax collection works, or is divided between various government agencies.   Some businesses-to-business sales are exempt from sales tax.

          The site itself was vacant for decades, prior to Mori Seiki’s arrival. (By the way, what is the size of that site?)

          I’m not at all opposed to efforts to land businesses within Davis.  I’m opposed to further conversion of commercial sites within the city, to accommodate residential development.

          And, I’m strongly opposed to developing farmland outside of city limits, for a quasi-residential, freeway-oriented development. (Especially when the city is simultaneously allowing conversion of commercial sites within the city.)

        10. Ron Oertel

          And again, it does not appear that commercial interest is what is motivating MRIC developers.

          Perhaps the Vanguard could explain again how MRIC will compete with West Sacramento, the new innovation center planned for Woodland, etc.  It is not likely that rents (or sales) would be “cheaper” at MRIC, compared to these other sites.

          “Unfortunately”, the site in Woodland is probably easier to reach from UCD (and from many parts of town), compared to MRIC. Over 2 million square feet of research/office/lab space, and 1,600 residences planned. In addition to all of the other development occurring in south Woodland.

          Is the plan at MRIC to have the residential sales/rentals “subsidize” the commercial development?

          From the point of view of potential commercial tenants, there’s no shortage of commercial (or residential) space in the region – very close to UCD and Davis.

        11. Ron Oertel

          To clarify, I’m referring to the innovation center (which is much further along than MRIC, in the planning process), which “migrated” from Davis.  (The former site of which is now planned for a senior housing development – WDAAC.)

          In any case, here’s a link:  http://woodlandresearchpark.org/

          But as I was searching for the link above, I also noticed this (which I’ve heard nothing about, on the Vanguard:

          “The Sakata Seed America Woodland Innovation Center is an $18.5M investment, including 219 acres of prime agricultural land in Yolo county.”

          “The facility was officially inaugurated on Thursday, September 13, 2018, when Sakata Seed America hosted a Grand Opening ceremony on site.”

          (It appears that the developed portion occupies 16 acres of the site.)

          https://sakatavegetables.com/articles/woodland-innovation-center/

           

        12. David Greenwald

          “I’m not sure how sales tax collection works, or is divided between various government agencies.”

          The one percent sales tax goes directly to the city

          the $88K figure is the city’s property tax take.

        13. David Greenwald

          “Perhaps the Vanguard could explain again how MRIC will compete with West Sacramento, the new innovation center planned for Woodland, etc.”

          Its called home field advantage.

        14. Ron Oertel

          David:  “It’s called home field advantage.”

          Try telling that to these people:

          “Northern California’s agricultural innovation is anchored by the cutting-edge research and development at UC Davis – the nation’s premier agricultural research institution. Woodland Research Park, a proposed 350-acre project located just seven miles from UC Davis, offers the opportunity for established companies and startups focusing on agriculture innovation to expand or put down roots in Northern California’s agriculture and food science epicenter.”

          http://woodlandresearchpark.org/

        15. Ron Oertel

          David:  “The one percent sales tax goes directly to the city.”

          That’s all?  In the case of Mori Seiki, for example – about $10K/year?

        16. Ron Oertel

          I realized after I made that comment that $1 million in taxable sales was too low.

          It does seem like a “good deal” for the city, in this case.  But again, there’s significant competition for companies like this (including from Chicago, in the case of Mori Seiki).  I wonder how it came down to Davis, vs. Chicago?

          In any case, how large of a site does Mori Seiki actually occupy?

          I’ll check out your business journal link, later.  (Of course, business journal publications may essentially be biased, themselves.) Regardless, that still doesn’t address the competition faced by the Woodland innovation center, West Sacramento, etc.

          Nor does it address the fact that there’s very few “Mori Seiki’s”, or that some business-to-business sales are not taxable.

          There is no shortage of commercial space (or housing), very near UCD and Davis.

        17. Ron Oertel

          By the way, do other nearby communities also collect 1% of taxable sales? (I believe that this can vary, between different nearby communities.)

          If they collect a lesser amount, wouldn’t that also provide a significant and permanent advantage to companies with relatively high taxable sales?

          1. Don Shor

            If they collect a lesser amount, wouldn’t that also provide a significant and permanent advantage to companies with relatively high taxable sales?

            Sales tax is not an expense for the business. We just collect it and pass it along.

        18. Ron Oertel

          Don:  “Sales tax is not an expense for the business. We just collect it and pass it along.”

          Right – to your customers.  Perhaps not such a big deal, when you’re buying a pair of garden shears.

          Now, wouldn’t a lower sales tax provide a significant advantage to a company which sells high-value items, if they could pass on a lesser amount to their customers? Doesn’t that make them significantly more competitive and/or profitable?

          I went ahead and looked up the sales tax rates, and found the following so far:

          Davis:  8.25%

          West Sacramento:  8.25%

          UCD:  7.25%

          Woodland:  8.0%

          Dixon:  7.375%

          (I lost the link, but you can verify these yourself.)

          In any case, it appears that Mori Seiki, for example, would not have to pass on the following costs if they located as follows:

          UCD campus:  $1 million less.  (I assume that this is also the county’s rate – anywhere outside of a city in Yolo county.)

          Dixon:  (Almost) $1 million per year less.

          Woodland:  $250K per year less.

        19. Ron Oertel

          I’m really looking forward to a response to the comment above.

          I went ahead and looked up another city (Winters), which has a rate equivalent to the county (7.25%).  Thereby allowing a company like Mori Seiki to avoid passing $1 million in taxes to their customers, each and every year.

          Exactly equivalent to the amount of “profit” that Davis is hoping to extract from companies like Mori Seiki, going forward.

          Good luck with that.

        20. Matt Williams

          Ron, I suspect that for most businesses a difference of 1% (for example the difference between 8.25% and 7.25%) falls into the category of “rounding error.”

        21. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  I doubt that.

          Cumulatively, it’s an annual million-dollar “rounding error”, equal to the entire amount of “profit” that Davis hopes to extract.  Which can be entirely avoided, by locating a few miles down the road.

          Of course, there’s also other states (some of which charge NO sales tax), which would be an even bigger factor, for high-dollar value sales.

          It’s naive to believe that businesses (buyers/sellers) don’t “realize” this and take advantage of it. Davis was probably pretty lucky, in landing Mori Seiki – even with the concessions that were granted to make that happen. (Which you might otherwise categorize as a “rounding error.”)

          I’m still wondering how much land Mori Seiki actually occupies, as well. (The size of the site, itself.)

          And, how long it remained vacant prior to their arrival.

          1. David Greenwald

            Mori Seiki built on 14.5 acres – which is pretty much larger than any vacant parcel in town. Prior to them arriving it was vacant roughly 5 billion years.

        22. Ron Oertel

          Thanks, David.

          Yes – I figured that it was vacant, prior to that point.

          Not sure that’s true (regarding vacant/underutilized sites), but there’s a LOT more than 14.5 acres available within 10 miles or less of Davis.

          With lower sales tax, less cost overall, an outright glut of new housing, etc.

          1. David Greenwald

            The city inventoried all the sites so we know precisely what’s in the city limits.

        23. Ron Oertel

          You’ve already made “conclusions” regarding other sites BEFORE the city has even completed its study.  (Note that they’re also examining under-utilized sites.)

          Regardless, that has no relationship to the plentiful sites within 10 miles (with much lower costs, and plenty of housing), the conversion of existing commercial sites within the city for residential development, the failure of 2-3 other “innovation center” sites, etc.

          The bottom line is that commercial demand is not what’s driving interest in developing the MRIC site. In fact, there’s zero evidence (as in NONE) that any companies have plans to move there. Even if they were offered a sweetheart deal, to do so.

          Take away the housing component (with more dwellings than the entire Mace Ranch development), and we wouldn’t even be hearing about it now.

          1. David Greenwald

            Bottom line: if Mori Seiki were looking to come to Davis now, we would not have space to accommodate them.

        24. Ron Oertel

          Weren’t you just discussing a site that a local commercial broker had been working on, but stated that the owners “didn’t have their act together”?  How large is that one?

          Also, what makes you think that Sutter Davis is even interested in expanding?  And, if they did, is that not commercial development?

          Isn’t there also a site (which was part of the “Davis Innovation Center”) that will still remain undeveloped?  (In fact, you specifically mentioned this, recently.)

          Do all businesses require 14 acres?  If not, why are there several multi-acre sites around town, which are in the process of being converted to housing?

          Why did 2-3 other “innovation center” proposals fail, replaced entirely with housing?

          Regardless, your presentation is nothing more than a complete side-show, regarding the amount of land available within 10 miles of Davis, where costs will remain significantly lower, housing in plentiful, etc.  And, where local officials are probably a lot more welcoming.

          I’m not saying that this is a good thing, but it is a reality.

          And the reality is that (regardless of “Davis supply”), there’s NO evidence of commercial demand for it.

          Again, take away the housing component (with more residential units than the entire Mace Ranch development, I believe), and MRIC will disappear even faster than the other “innovation center” sites.

          Any word yet, regarding the number of parking spots at this freeway-oriented proposal?

        25. David Greenwald

          Yes the land would have been big enough for Mori Seiki.  The problem: they allowed a deal with Panattoni to fall through (https://www.panattoni.com/).

          You can call it a sideshow, but the reality is that right now Davis is not even in the game for the next Mori Seiki because it lacks the space for them.  The reality is that Davis lost Agraquest five years ago and is about to lose another major company for the same reason.  You’re arguing that there are other areas already – there are – but by arguing that you’re conceding Davis will not attract the next Mori Seiki.  Why do that?  There are never any guarantees that if we have the space ready that someone will come, but there is a guarantee that we will lose if we don’t have the space and between ADM and Mars and others we know Davis is a place that even established companies want to go – if they have the space.

        26. Ron Oertel

          Bottom line: if Mori Seiki were looking to come to Davis now, we would not have space to accommodate them.

          Just the other day, you said that the reason they came at the time they did was due to the housing crash.  Do you think another one is on the horizon?

          In any case, let us know when another “Mori Seiki” tells you that they’re willing to locate to the area, but only if they can do so at MRIC.  And, not at the Woodland innovation center, West Sacramento, Dixon, etc.  (Where they can save their customers a million dollars/year in ongoing taxes, as well.)

          I don’t know what other companies you’re referring to that Davis “lost”, but I recall another commenter (Don, I believe) who noted that a company which occupies a lot of physical space ended up in West Sacramento, due to costs that Davis simply cannot come close to.

          That is simply not going to change, MRIC or not.

          If you want a freeway-oriented housing development on prime farmland outside of city limits, then just say so. But, let’s call it what it really is.

          By the way, how large are the sites that Mars and ADM occupy? And, what was there prior to that?

           

          1. David Greenwald

            I didn’t say that the reason they came was due to the housing crash. I think there are several companies in Davis that will leave Davis without more land available to them. And I think by not having enough readily available land we are precluding the next one to come if the opportunity presents itself.

        27. Ron Oertel

          David:  “Yes the land would have been big enough for Mori Seiki.  The problem: they allowed a deal with Panattoni to fall through (https://www.panattoni.com/).”

          Seems like you’re making contradictory statements.

          Regardless, I’d suggest focusing your energies on this site (among others), instead.

          Or, maybe keep trying to destroy downtown? (That ought to keep you busy, for awhile.) The Hibbert’s site is also crying out for your advocacy!

          By the way, isn’t University Mall within “200 yards” of UCD?

          1. David Greenwald

            There is no contradictory statement. My point all along is that we need more commercially available land because we only have about 50 acres ready to go and most of that is too small to accommodate companies that are either growing or coming here larger.

        28. Ron Oertel

          It does indeed seem odd that some are claiming that the city was “purposefully planned” with an “insufficient” amount of commercial space, while simultaneously allowing the conversion of several large sites for residential usage.

          There’s apparently always going to be some “need”, to justify an ever-expanding city, onto land which isn’t creating a “problem”.  It’s the same battle cry over-and-over, and which transcends Davis.  And frankly, it’s a losing battle in most places.

          It’s never enough, for some.  That’s why the region is becoming a mess, like so many other areas have become. It’s sad, really. And yet, the push for more goes on.

          But, I do wish the Vanguard would give it a rest until a proposal comes out, at least.

  7. Bill Marshall

    Sidebar… to DV mgt…

    Seems over last month or two, even with a minute or two on the comment “shot clock” and editing a comment, it doesn’t happen, with the tag “You can no longer edit this comment”… weird…

    1. Bill Marshall

      Agreed Mark… sometimes the ‘no go’ kicked in with a full 3 minutes left, other times, could get away with it in last 30 seconds… damn Russians/Chinese, etc. hacking our communications… or, computer gremlins…

      Does seem random…

      1. Bill Marshall

        K… but it is happening… Mark and I are not making this up… it is real, and intermittent/sporadic… and a tad annoying, but as I’m not paying a subscription, not that big a deal to me…

        Just wanted you to know about the “problem”… as a courtesy, not as a ‘criticism’…

        1. Matt Williams

          Bill, I have experienced it too, but intermittently.  One possible cause for it is if you open a new reply during the five-minute window of the just submitted reply. That is something you can check on to see if you can replicate the problem.

          David, your technical team may be able to crete the problem that way as well.

        2. Matt Williams

          This is a test comment to see if my suspicion described above does create the problem.

          EDIT: It did indeed truncate/end the edit period of the comment above.

        3. Matt Williams

          You may not have intentionally activated such a signal, but the system software might have detected what it thought was such a signal regardless.

          I looked at your posting history over the past few days and you have several such instances

  8. Ron Oertel

    David:  Here’s an idea:

    Instead of these repetitive articles which ultimately don’t accomplish much (and frankly, encourage repetitive comments), why don’t you give it a break until/unless an actual proposal arises?

    Maybe write about something else, for a change? (Perhaps expanding beyond your other usual subjects, as well?)

    1. Ron Oertel

      And frankly, how about a little less advocacy (regardless of subject matter)?

      I’ve got some ideas for you, if you’re ever interested in expanding your scope.

      1. David Greenwald

        You comment on less than one-quarter of the articles of this site. It’s a little slower now since the two main bodies we cover are on a bit of break, the Yolo interns are just now back, but when we are up and rolling full speed – we cover 1 to 2 articles a day on Davis, one on Sacramento CR/ Court matters, two on Yolo and one or two on San Francisco. You’re not commenting on those.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Thanks for responding, without deleting my comment (which might be considered off-topic).

          I view most of what you write about as advocacy, including your focus on district attorneys, various court cases, homeless individuals, etc.  Sometimes I read them, but other points of view often come to mind (even if I don’t make comments).  Your Sacramento-based reporter is probably the most biased of all.  (To the point where he isn’t even generating many comments from readers, these days.)

          With your photo-journalistic talents, I can only imagine how enjoyable it would be to read/see about local natural areas (and the people who are working behind the scenes to preserve such areas), including Stebbins Cold Canyon (which isn’t all that “cold”, this time of year), the efforts of Tuleyome, etc. 

          Something positive (but not necessarily controversial), for a change. (Again, your photos would be key to this.)

           

           

        2. Matt Williams

          Ron, my personal suspicion is that the typical Vanguard reader does not come to the Vanguard for educational articles and comments.  Some do, and if they have gotten the educational material they desire, they absorb it, but do not comment on it.

          I suspect the majority of Vanguard readers come here for the purpose of practicing the art of advocacy.

          1. David Greenwald

            I suspect – that the population of commenters is very different from the population of readers

        3. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  “I suspect the majority of Vanguard readers come here for the purpose of practicing the art of advocacy.”

          I suspect that the majority of commenters do so for the purpose of countering the Vanguard’s constant advocacy and misinformation.  It is not an enjoyable activity, in and of itself.

  9. Bill Marshall

    Earlier,

    Just the other day, you said that the reason they came at the time they did was due to the housing crash.  Do you think another one is on the horizon?

    That might be a good thing… decreases costs, improves affordability… one of our kids took advantage of that, last time, and got their first house to buy, at bargain basement prices … that kid might not have been able to buy for a long time, without that…

    For those of us who own our own homes, free and clear, and no intention of being in the housing market soon, we don’t really care… might save some on general property tax.

    Yes, Ron, a housing market ‘crash’ event, particularly in Davis, could increase affordability and attract young couples who have kids, or plan to, and help solve the DJUSD funding thing.

    Good idea!  How can we orchestrate such a crash?

    1. Ron Oertel

      Yes – housing corrections are inevitable, and are not a bad thing.  However, the one that was occurring when Mori Seiki arrived was unprecedented and devastated the entire economy.

      It’s also not a bad thing that Davis doesn’t experience will swings in market value (up, or down) compared to other communities.  This creates stability, along with more certainty regarding property taxes, etc.

      Regarding purposefully attracting families, it seems that you’re suggesting that the city should adjust its plans to correspond with the school district’s desires.  Unfortunately, you are apparently not alone in that view.

      Population cohorts will change over time, regardless.

      Glad to hear that your kid was able to take advantage of the last downturn, but somehow doubt that it was a “bargain” in Davis, at least. (Given its relative stability.)

      1. Bill Marshall

        Regarding purposefully attracting families, it seems that you’re suggesting that the city should adjust its plans to correspond with the school district’s desires.  Unfortunately, you are apparently not alone in that view.

        I call BS.  I merely pointed out a ‘logical consequence’ of a housing crash… you over-stepped, big time. You attributed intention to me that I clearly did not say. Knock it off! Or just add me to your ignore commenter list.

        You do point out an interesting fact… “college towns” have a buffer… the colleges/universities…

        My parents both lived thru the “Great Depression”… one lived in a ‘mill town’, the other next to a university… the one who lived in the mill town fully experienced it… the one who lived next to the U, it was a long recession.  Fact of life.

         

        1. Ron Oertel

          O.K., sorry for reading more than you intended into your comment. It was not intentional.

          Yes – there’s a definite stability to having an adjacent university.  Having the capital of state government nearby is also a stabilizing factor – for the entire region.

          Unfortunately, the region also experiences wild swings, partly due to its reliance upon the housing construction industry.

        2. Bill Marshall

          Acknowledged, and you are also correct as to vicinity to military or other State/Fed government centers… they indeed are “buffers”…

          Housing industry more follows other economic factors, rather than vice versa. Interest rates, inflation, etc.

  10. Ron Oertel

    David:  “I didn’t say that the reason they came was due to the housing crash.

    Pretty sure that you did quote some “unnamed source”, stating exactly that.  Would you care to clarify?  And, still curious as to how the choice came down to Chicago, vs. Davis.  Very different cities.

    David:  I think there are several companies in Davis that will leave Davis without more land available to them. And I think by not having enough readily available land we are precluding the next one to come if the opportunity presents itself.”

    Any thoughts regarding what will happen to the land that’s “vacated”, as companies supposedly move from their existing locations in Davis (to either MRIC, or somewhere nearby)?

    It’s a housing development, folks.  With more residential units than the entire Mace Ranch development, I believe.  Without that, there is no claimed “commercial interest”. Even now, there’s no evidence of it. Regarding commercial interest, shouldn’t there at least be a “fake claim” or two, by this point?

    Unlike residential development (where Davis commands a “premium”), commercial development and pricing is regional.  There is no “shortage” of regional commercial space.  There are not enough companies to fill even one new “innovation center”, let alone the several that cities are simultaneously pursuing.

    Completing the city as designed does not mean that there’s a “shortage” of any category of development.  It means that there are structural funding problems that created the concern to begin with.

    Every city in the region is facing the same problems regarding funding, and every city is seeking the same “solution”.

    David:  “The one percent sales tax is up for renewal – that accounts for between $7 and $8 million in annual revenue.”

    So, increase it another one percent, and double the amount that the city receives.  (Or, what some might refer to as a “rounding error”.)

    Sacramento itself has a rate that’s a half-percentage point higher than Davis’.

    1. Don Shor

      So, increase it another one percent, and double the amount that the city receives. (Or, what some might refer to as a “rounding error”.)

      Sacramento itself has a rate that’s a half-percentage point higher than Davis’.

      This is your solution to the city’s fiscal problems? You’re advocating an additional 1% sales tax? Just want to be clear on your position here.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Again, there are structural budget problems facing cities and counties throughout the state.

        By the way, how is it that Dixon still “exists”, with such a low sales tax rate? Also, how much is their parcel tax, for schools or anything else?

        And, since sales tax rates vary between different cities, how are such decisions made in the first place?  Do they just pull numbers out of a hat?

        According to another commenter, companies are not particularly “sensitive” to a difference of one percent. And, as you pointed out, those costs are just passed on to their customers. I’m not the one who made these statements.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Maybe.  How does Dixon’s budget look, given that they’re collecting such a very small percentage of sales tax on the sales listed in this table?

          What is their parcel tax, for schools or anything else?

          I imagine that they sell different items in Dixon, compared to Palo Alto.

          Since Don asked me, what is your “position” on the possibility of raising Davis’ sales tax rate? Perhaps mirroring Sacramento’s rate?

          1. David Greenwald

            I had the per capita sales comparison handy – which is pretty telling as to why they didn’t need to have a supplemental sales tax. The rest if you want to know, you can research.

          2. Don Shor

            Since Don asked me,

            You didn’t answer the question. You advocate Davis raising the local sales tax another 1%?

        2. Ron Oertel

          You didn’t answer the question. You advocate Davis raising the local sales tax another 1%?

          I don’t have an answer for you, Don.  I suggested (below) that Davis might consider re-examining the rate.  I also noted that Sacramento’s rate is a half-percentage point higher.

          Each single percentage point doubles the amount of sales tax revenue that Davis receives.  Assuming that it doesn’t chase businesses away.  In which case, Davis is already at a disadvantage to attract businesses, compared to some other nearby communities.

          Of course, it’s pretty difficult to make ends meet via another housing development, regardless.

          1. Don Shor

            So, increase it another one percent, and double the amount that the city receives.

            You advocate Davis raising the local sales tax another 1%?

            I don’t have an answer for you, Don. I suggested (below) that Davis might consider re-examining the rate

            [edited]Do you believe the city has a fiscal deficit?
            Do you believe that cities can balance their budgets?
            Do you believe economic development leads to increased revenues for cities?

        3. Mark West

          Ron the Wonderer: “Also wondering if the sales activity of companies like Mori Seiki are considered “retail” sales.”

          By definition, sales taxes are collected on retail sales. The per capita sales tax data that DG posted represents all of the sales tax collected in a given city divided by the number of people who reside in that city. If Mori Seki collected sales tax it is because they are making retail sales. If those taxes were reported to the State as is required, they are represented in the table.

           

        4. Ron Oertel

          I understood that some business-to-business sales are taxable, but are not considered “retail” sales.  If that’s not the case (and if Mori Seiki’s sales are included in the table for whatever year it’s supposed to represent), then thanks for clarifying it.

        5. Mark West

          David’s table shows retail sales per capita, not the sales tax as I stated. The interpretation of the data, however, is the same, since the retail sales are reported to the State with the transfer of the sales tax collected.

        6. Ron Oertel

          Thanks – yes, I understood that a calculation was needed to come up with the per-capita sales for the year that it represents.

          I was asking if some taxable sales are not included in the table, because they’re not counted as retail.

        7. Hiram Jackson

          Ron: “By the way, how is it that Dixon still “exists”, with such a low sales tax rate? Also, how much is their parcel tax, for schools or anything else?”

          No school parcel tax.  A couple of school bonds passed since 2000.

          Although you might consider the Dixon district to exist “on the cheap,” an important question to ask is, “would you, as a parent, enroll your own children there, given all the options available?”

          The Dixon schools, with no school parcel tax, funds their district according to the state education agenda, meaning fewer options beyond what is obligated by the state to support raising standardized test scores.

           

        8. Hiram Jackson

          Also, Dixon schools have been on a declining enrollment trend for several years.  The bump up noted in recent years, starting in 2014-15, may have been due to new housing that opened up, but the declining trend is still there.  That indicates likely an aging population, and/or adults choosing not to have as many kids (or no kids at all) as prior generations.

        9. Ron Oertel

          Thanks, Hiram.

          I did not state that Dixon schools were funded “on the cheap”.  However, I suspected that they weren’t funded via a parcel tax.

          Don previously pointed out (a couple of times, I recall) that Dixon schools have a greater variety of course offerings than Davis schools.

        10. Hiram Jackson

          Ron: “Don previously pointed out (a couple of times, I recall) that Dixon schools have a greater variety of course offerings than Davis schools.”

          Really??  I thought I remembered him (or someone else?) stating it was the other way around, that Davis schools have a greater variety of course offerings than Dixon schools because a larger district (Davis) in part has economy of scale.

          That led to a discussion as to whether size of a district meant better “quality.”

          If I remember wrong, please point out.

          “I did not state that Dixon schools were funded “on the cheap”. However, I suspected that they weren’t funded via a parcel tax.”

          ‘On the cheap’ meaning that residents might feel more like living in Dixon because they don’t have to pay the extra parcel tax to the local schools. There is a cost to local schools by not supporting them.

          1. Don Shor

            Ron is exactly wrong. Davis schools have a greater variety of course offerings than Dixon schools. That is what I said, and I gave examples.

        11. Hiram Jackson

          Re: “Don previously pointed out (a couple of times, I recall) that Dixon schools have a greater variety of course offerings than Davis schools.”

          See this comment on another thread.

          Note to admins:  I tried to edit/append my previous comment above with this info, but was prevented from doing so, when the clock indicated that I had ~1:30 left to edit.

        12. Ron Oertel

          Don/Hiram:  My apologies, I got that backwards.  Not intentional, as I suspected you’d see the comment.

          Yes – Davis specifically funds extra offerings.  It’s definitely a nice perk, for those who attend Davis schools.

          Personally, I’d prefer another method of funding, other than parcel taxes which fall disproportionally on single-family, non-Affordable dwellings.

        13. Hiram Jackson

          Ron: “Yes – Davis specifically funds extra offerings.  It’s definitely a nice perk, for those who attend Davis schools.”

          A lot of things funded by local school parcel taxes were regular school offerings where I grew up, in another state in another time (in the last century).  Nowadays they are referred to as “nice perks” (your term), something special and extra, and beyond normal.  I think they actually help to make a significant difference in positive outcomes of our students.

          Personally, I’d prefer another method of funding, other than parcel taxes which fall disproportionally on single-family, non-Affordable dwellings.”

          Right now that’s the only funding mechanism that the school district has control of to get extra revenue.  I pay full value of every school parcel tax passed, so I would have a justification for complaining loudly if I wanted to.  But if I were to wait for the fairest  tax assessment to materialize, it would never happen.  IMO, although small improvements sometimes happen here and there, the perfectly fairest tax assessment doesn’t exist.  For me it’s about taking local responsibility for local outcomes.

        14. Ron Oertel

          Fair enough, Hiram.

          Given the current structure, I’m not necessarily opposed to parcel taxes for schools.

          I’m more concerned that this cost will grow and impact the citizenry’s willingness to fund other city needs.

          For that reason, I don’t think this is the time to add another school district parcel tax, to raise teacher’s salaries. It might have made sense to include a slight increase with the previous renewal.

          It’s the city’s turn.

    2. Mark West

      “Any thoughts regarding what will happen to the land that’s “vacated”, as companies supposedly move from their existing locations in Davis (to either MRIC, or somewhere nearby)?”

      The land and buildings will be sold or leased to another business

      “It’s a housing development, folks.”

      No, it is not, no matter how many times you make the spurious claim. Housing is a small fraction of the total proposed project. Your comparison to Mace Ranch is a silly one as you are attempting to equate high-density apartments, townhouses, and condominiums with large detached single-family homes.

      “there is no claimed “commercial interest”. Even now, there’s no evidence of it.”

      The evidence of demand has been presented and you are choosing to ignore it.

      Unlike residential development (where Davis commands a “premium”), commercial development and pricing is regional.

      On the surface this might seem true, however, some companies specifically want to locate in Davis (for their own reasons) and there is a paucity of land available for them. That creates both demand and premium pricing. As stated before, we are not talking about filling spec-built cheap warehouse buildings at ARC but rather providing land and infrastructure such that companies may build to suit. Building to suit is a premium approach to commercial development.

      There is no “shortage” of regional commercial space.

      I doubt that is actually true, but so what if it is. There is a shortage of Davis commercial space, and that is the topic of the discussion.

      There are not enough companies to fill even one new “innovation center”, let alone the several that cities are simultaneously pursuing.

      This statement is nothing but idle speculation on your part and is, in fact, contrary to the information provided by professional.

      Completing the city as designed does not mean that there’s a “shortage” of any category of development.  It means that there are structural funding problems that created the concern to begin with.

      I have no clue what you mean by this statement.

      Every city in the region is facing the same problems regarding funding, and every city is seeking the same “solution”.

      Yes, many cities are facing the same issues, and the smart ones understand the value of economic development.

       

      1. Ron Oertel

        Really, you want to run through this again?

        Mark:  “The land and buildings will be sold or leased to another business.”  

        Commercial sites that are being vacated have a history of conversion to residential usage.

         

        Mark:  “Housing is a small fraction of the total proposed project. Your comparison to Mace Ranch is a silly one as you are attempting to equate high-density apartments, townhouses, and condominiums with large detached single-family homes.”

        According to David, the developer has already confirmed they will be pursuing up to 850 residential units, which is apparently more than the total number of residential units in the entire Mace Ranch development.  It might also be noted that having residences located above businesses impacts (and can reduce) the types of businesses that would locate there.

        If there was actually sufficient market demand for commercial development, that’s what you’d see being proposed.  Instead of a housing development, with fake claims that it’s needed to attract employees.  As if they’re not going to find a home within 10 miles or less.

        Mark:  “On the surface this might seem true, however, some companies specifically want to locate in Davis (for their own reasons) and there is a paucity of land available for them. That creates both demand and premium pricing. As stated before, we are not talking about filling spec-built cheap warehouse buildings at ARC but rather providing land and infrastructure such that companies may build to suit. Building to suit is a premium approach to commercial development.”

        The reality is that you have no idea what the commercial demand is, or what type of commercial buildings might ultimately be proposed, or if that even occurs.  There’s not even a “fake claim” of interest, at this point.

        Mark:  “I doubt that is actually true, but so what if it is. There is a shortage of Davis commercial space, and that is the topic of the discussion.”

        Seems strange that someone who presents themselves as essentially an expert in economic/commercial development does not know what the regional demand is, how much space is already available, and how much more is already planned.  Davis is not an island onto itself, regarding regional commercial interests.

        Mark:  “This statement is nothing but idle speculation on your part and is, in fact, contrary to the information provided by professional.”

        Again, there’s not even a fake claim of interest, at this point.  There is no recent professional analysis regarding market viability.  The Woodland innovation center has also become a factor, after moving from its previously-planned site in Davis. That proposal alone (which is far more advanced in the planning process) will consist of more than 2 million square feet of commercial space, and 1,600 homes. It is unclear where businesses are going to “arise” from, even for that single “innovation center”.

        Mark:  “I have no clue what you mean by this statement.”

        I have no clue as to what you’re asking.

  11. Ron Oertel

    I had the per capita sales comparison handy – which is pretty telling as to why they didn’t need to have a supplemental sales tax. The rest if you want to know, you can research.

    Without looking at Dixon’s budget, conclusions such as yours cannot be made.

    It would be interesting to know if sales tax rates are much of a factor, regarding where businesses choose to locate.  If they are a factor, then the innovation center planned for Dixon and other nearby locales would have an advantage over MRIC.

    If it’s viewed as more of a “rounding error” instead – as someone else claimed, then Davis might consider re-examining their sales tax rate. One wealthy entity’s “rounding error” might be part of another poorer entity’s “solution”.

    Of course, none of this deals with the root of the structural budget problems that cities are facing throughout California. Which won’t be solved by innovation centers being simultaneously pursued.

    Again, no answer regarding whether or not sales activity such as Mori Seiki’s is included in the table you presented.

     

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      Of course, none of this deals with the root of the structural budget problems that cities are facing throughout California. Which won’t be solved by innovation centers being simultaneously pursued.

      So, in addition to Don’s questions of you, what is “the root” of the structural deficit problems?  And how do you propose to deal with it?

      On the “root” question, I expect you can (and should) answer that.  You seem to have a strong opinion, given the definite article “the”… as in singular, definite.   Please share.

      I can think of many ‘roots’.

      1. Ron Oertel

        I can think of many ‘roots’.

        Me too.  They’ve all been discussed on here, repeatedly.  Including pension costs.

        There’s nothing unique about Davis’ challenges.

        1. Matt Williams

          Ron, the decisions that Davis has made about Pensions, and Retiree Medical Benefits, and Firefighter Pay, and Deferred Capital Maintenance are all unique to Davis.  No other jurisdiction has made the same unique decisions.  Davis has clearly swung the pendulum of those decisions to the extreme end of the spectrum.  We own those unique decisions.  We own their consequences.  No one else should own those Davis-specific consequences.  That would be the height of fiscal irresponsibility on their part … and they have the consequences of their own unique decisions that they own the responsibility for.

          Nobody made Davis make those extreme decisions.  We did that all by ourselves.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  “Ron, the decisions that Davis has made about Pensions, and Retiree Medical Benefits, and Firefighter Pay, and Deferred Capital Maintenance are all unique to Davis.”

          Yes, and the decisions that virtually every other city, county, and the state itself are also “unique” to each respective entity.

          And, they’ve all led to essentially the same fiscal boat that Davis is in.  That would suggest that there’s system-wide incentives to make decisions which are not beneficial in the long term.

          The only “difference” in Davis is that we have an ample supply of “experts” on hand to repeatedly point out such concerns, along with a supply of what some might refer to as snake-oil salesmen who promise to “fix” the concerns, for Davis.

           

        3. Matt Williams

          “essentially” and “suggest”

          Those are the kinds of “What if?” and/or “What about?” expressions you are a master at deploying in order to pursue your contrarian agenda in the pursuit of binary polarization.

    2. Matt Williams

      Ron, you clearly read my “rounding error” comment incorrectly. Go back and read the comment.  You will see that it was made from the purchasing entity’s perspective.  It really is easy mathematically.  A $100 purchase with 7.25% sales tax costs $107.25 plus shipping and handling.  So for the sake of argument $115.00 total purchase price.  If the sales tax is 8.25%, then the total purchase price is $116.00 … 1 unit out of 116 units statistically qualifies as a “rounding error”

      In addition you do not understand the accounting of your own example.  Hypothetically the profit margin on the $100 purchase is approximately $40.  With 7.25% tax added and $7.75 shipping and handling added, the net profit to the seller is $40.  With 8.25% tax added and $7.75 shipping and handling added, the net profit to the seller is the exact same $40.

      As I said in an earlier post about a different conversation in this thread you appear to be approaching this discussion using two rhetorical devices.  The first of those devices is being a devil’s advocate, essentially taking a contrarian position regarding anything that anyone says.  The result is that your comments come across as a series of disconnected vignettes.  There doesn’t appear to be an intellectual “center” to your position/argument, but rather a series of waving tentacles.  The second of those devices is the pursuit of binary polarization using “What if?” and/or “What about?” questions for which the concept of “reasonable doubt” does not apply.  Another way to say that is that your questions are founded on the Napoleonic Code principle of “Guilty, until proven innocent.”  

      1. Ron Oertel

        Matt:  It is my opinion that your comment is irrelevant.

        Is the following not true?

        From article:  “The one percent sales tax is up for renewal – that accounts for between $7 and $8 million in annual revenue.”

        “If that goes up another percentage point, the amount of (that) revenue doubles (to between $14-$16 million, annually).”

        1. Matt Williams

          Ron, the first quoted text (from the article) is correct.

          However, the second quoted text is incorrect.  The City’s sales tax revenue is already over $16 million according to the current City Budget (see LINK), so an increase of between $7 and $8 million would only increase the revenue by a bit less than 50% rather than the 100% that would be needed to achieve the doubling the comment describes.

          A 2% increase of the Measure O Sales Tax percentage from 1% to 3% would produce close to the necessary $16 million that would be necessary to achieve doubled revenues.

      2. Bill Marshall

        Matt, to Ron:

        In addition you do not understand the accounting of your own example. 

        That was an unfair comment, Matt… it’s not like Ron is trained in accounting, for crissakes!  ;<)

        1. Ron Oertel

          The comment above has been “reported”, and shouldn’t have been made in the first place.

          The original comment should also be removed from Matt’s comment, as it had nothing to do with the example (to which he still hasn’t responded – despite posting it again below).

          In fact, Matt’s 4:15 p.m. comment (above) is a duplicate of his 4:12 p.m. comment, below.

          I responded to it, there.

  12. Bill Marshall

    Each single percentage point doubles the amount of sales tax revenue that Davis receives

    Patently untrue.  Davis had and continues to receive sales tax revenue, independent of the local levy.  Thought you knew that.  My error, apparently.

    Now if you meant to say,

    Each single percentage point doubles the amount of local, incremental sales tax revenue that Davis receives.

    … that would be correct.

    1. Ron Oertel

      To clarify (from the article, itself):

      “The one percent sales tax is up for renewal – that accounts for between $7 and $8 million in annual revenue.”

      If that goes up another percentage point, the amount of revenue doubles (to between $14-$16 million, annually).

    2. Matt Williams

      It is actually an incorrect statement either way you say it.  From Base to the Measure O level the amount Davis receives (approximately 1% out of the 7.25%) doubles.  But if the Measure O level goes up another “single percentage point” the increase is only 50%.  For the next “single percentage point” the increase is only 33%.

      Same, same if you look at only the Measure O amount.  If the Measure O level goes up a “single percentage point” the increase is 100% (double).  For the next “single percentage point” the increase is only 50%.

      1. Ron Oertel

         Matt:  “If the Measure O level goes up a “single percentage point” the increase is 100% (double).”

        Regardless of the wording regarding percentages (that you made in response to Bill’s comment), aren’t the following statements still true?

        From article:  “The one percent sales tax is up for renewal – that accounts for between $7 and $8 million in annual revenue.”

        “If that goes up another percentage point, the amount of (that) revenue doubles (to between $14-$16 million, annually).”

         

        1. Matt Williams

          Ron, the first quoted text (from the article) is correct. The second quoted text is incorrect.  The sales tax revenue is already over $16 million according to the City Budget (see LINK), so an increase of between $7and $8 million would only increase the revenue by a bit less than 50% rather than the 100% that would be needed to achieve the doubling the comment describes.  A 2% increase of the Measure O Sales Tax percentage from 1% to 3% would produce close to the necessary 16 million that would be necessary to achieve doubled revenues.

        2. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  I’ve made no statements regarding “percentages”.  Those statements were made by you and Bill.

          Here’s what I’ve said, which you still haven’t acknowledged as “correct”, or “incorrect”:

          From article:  “The one percent sales tax is up for renewal – that accounts for between $7 and $8 million in annual revenue.”

          f that goes up another percentage point, the amount of (that) revenue doubles (to between $14-$16 million, annually).”

        3. Bill Marshall

          Matt:  I’ve made no statements regarding “percentages”.  Those statements were made by you and Bill.

          Untrue again, both counts…

          See your 7/3, 8:01 post,

          So, increase it another one percent, and double the amount that the city receives.

          Doubling is 100 % increase.  You used percentages, and I called you on it, so you went to hard #’s… ‘backpedalling’

          On the contrary, except for questioning your assertion, I have not used %-ages…

          Two untruths, two sentences.  You’re on a roll!

        4. Ron Oertel

          Yes, it’s a doubling of the incremental amount.  From $7-8 million, to $14-$16 million annually. So, in that sense – you are correct, that I used percentages.

          For unknown reasons, Matt compared it to the total amount of sales tax taken in, which has nothing to do with the quote from the article (which he has acknowledged as “correct”), and the second statement (which he has so far “declined” to comment on).

          Pretty sure that you understand this, as well.

        5. Ron Oertel

          And Bill, you used “percentages” in your comment, as well.

          But at this point, I’ve come to believe that both you and Matt may be purposefully distorting the point. (I’ll ignore your other comments.)

          I’ll post the original comment again, below. Feel free to engage on the actual point being made:

          From article:  “The one percent sales tax is up for renewal – that accounts for between $7 and $8 million in annual revenue.”

          “If that goes up another percentage point, the amount of (that) revenue doubles (to between $14-$16 million, annually).”

        6. Bill Marshall

          Ro… you still ignore the context… the 7-8 and 14-16 #’s are both related to ‘City sales tax’, approved by Davis voters… both in the context of the article… there is underlying sales tax the City gets, irrespective of the City voter-approved levies.

          You fail again to really acknowledge that, nor do you admit your error in saying I asserted %-ages.

          Hard to refute, respond to dishonest/uninformed argument(s)… yours…

        7. Ron Oertel

          So Bill, I’m not seeing where you’re disputing the quote, above. It’s really pretty simple. Thanks for confirming it.

          Now, why Matt compared one sentence to the total sales tax, and not the other sentence is something that only he might explain.

          I forgot how he referred to differences such as this (resulting in $7-8 million more, in sales tax). Was it “chump change”, or something else?

        8. Matt Williams

          Ron the answer is right there in front of you in black and white.

          The article statement is true.

          Your statement is false.  The current sales tax revenues are a bit over $16 million (not Gryllidae).  Your statement would be correct if it said, ““If that goes up another percentage point, the amount of (that) revenue does not double (a 100% increase), but rather goes up by half (a 50% increase) to between $23-$24 million, annually.”  Again
          not Gryllidae.  You appear to have been eating an abbundance of Phaseolus vulgaris “Golden Butterwax” and they have migrated to your ears.

        9. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  Again, YOU are the one who is introducing a comparison to the entire amount of sales tax taken in for the second statement, but not the first statement.

          Would you care to explain why you’re continuing to do this?

          The second statement refers to the first statement.  That’s why they were quoted, together.

          The second statement is as accurate as the first statement.  Both statements are correct.

        10. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . Matt:  Again, YOU are the one who is introducing a comparison to the entire amount of sales tax taken in for the second statement, but not the first statement.

          Would you care to explain why you’re continuing to do this?

          The second statement refers to the first statement.  That’s why they were quoted, together.

          The second statement is as accurate as the first statement.  Both statements are correct.

          It is really very simple Ron.  All you have to do is go to the City’s Budget.  When you get there, no matter how hard you look, no matter how many rocks you turn over, you will not find any reference to Sales Tax Revenue other than $16 million.  Further, look at your own words

          Ron Oertel July 3, 2019 at 10:53 am

          To clarify (from the article, itself):

          If that goes up another percentage point, the amount of revenue doubles (to between $14-$16 million, annually).

          .
          You laid out a premise, specifically that the Measure O tax rate goes up from 1% to 2%, then both your knowledge of the City’s sales tax revenues and your math both failed you.  You ASSUMED a fact that is not in evidence, which made your “to between $14-16 million, annually” statement understated by $8-9 million.  It is not the first time you have made an erroneous assumption, and I’m sure it will not be your last.  Then your math failed you when performed your calculation of the relative amount produced an increase ratio (100%, referred to by you as “doubled”) that was two times as large as the actual ratio.

          You could have avoided all that egg on your face by simply documenting your assumptions before you made your statement.  It is a classic example of “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing” and/or “what you don’t know can hurt you.”

        11. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  “When you get there, no matter how hard you look, no matter how many rocks you turn over, you will not find any reference to Sales Tax Revenue other than $16 million.”

          And, you will not find any reference to that number in my statements.  YOU are the one who made that comparison.

          You ASSUMED a fact that is not in evidence, which made your “to between $14-16 million, annually” statement understated by $8-9 million

          Again, you are making a comparison that is nowhere to be found in what I wrote.

          It is not the first time you have made an erroneous assumption, and I’m sure it will not be your last.  Then your math failed you when performed your calculation of the relative amount produced an increase ratio (100%, referred to by you as “doubled”) that was two times as large as the actual ratio.

          It is a doubling of the incremental amount.  There is no error.

          There is an error in either your assumptions, your math, or your reading capabilities.

          But, I no longer believe you are doing so purposefully.  I believe you are honestly confused.

          You could have avoided all that egg on your face by simply documenting your assumptions before you made your statement.  It is a classic example of “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing” and/or “what you don’t know can hurt you.”

          Again, this advice would apply to you.

          I’d suggest you read the following, again.  And, please let me know where you believe that I made a comparison to the total sales tax received.

          From article:  “The one percent sales tax is up for renewal – that accounts for between $7 and $8 million in annual revenue.”

          “If that goes up another percentage point, the amount of (that) revenue doubles (to between $14-$16 million, annually).”

           

           

      2. Matt Williams

        “It is a doubling of the incremental amount.  There is no error.

        I’d suggest you read the following, again.  And, please let me know where you believe that I made a comparison to the total sales tax received.”

        You never said or implied the word incremental.  You stated “revenue” nothing more nothing less.  Your statement as written was wrong.  Your delusions might have been right, but that is an alternative reality I don’t choose to visit.  The facts are the facts.  They are reported clearly by the City.  You ignore them at your own peril.

        1. Ron Oertel

          I see that you understand, now.

          The two sentences were quoted together.  Note the reference to “that” revenue, and the obvious calculation that was presented in comparison to the first statement.  You filled in “that” with a number that isn’t even mentioned in the article.  I wasn’t even aware of the amount until you brought it up.  Well-after I made the statement.

          I added the word “that” sometime after Bill made a comment. Several iterations ago, and repeated several times since then.

          I completely understood the math you presented, but it had nothing to do with my statement.

          “Your delusions might have been right, but that is an alternative reality I don’t choose to visit.  The facts are the facts.  They are reported clearly by the City.  You ignore them at your own peril.”

          I don’t know why you’re making a statement like this.  But, it’s certainly easy to see how things can be misunderstood.

          It’s unfortunate that the original point has been obscured by our exchange (regarding the significant difference a slight increase in the sales tax rate might make for the city).  Perhaps something to consider, at least.

           

           

           

        2. Ron Oertel

          So again, I still find it strange that you acknowledged the correctness of the first statement (from the article), while initially claiming that my second statement was incorrect.

          Even though NEITHER of the statements made any comparison to the total sales tax collected. Nor did the original statement from the article (that you acknowledged as “correct”) use the word “incremental”. And yet, I understood immediately what that referred to.

          But, I’d suggest just dropping it at this point, regarding the misunderstanding at least.

        3. Matt Williams

          Ron, you are conveniently and dishonestly practicing revisionist history.  In your actual quote, where exactly do you see the word “(that)” appear?  “(That)” is a figment of your imagination.

          Ron OertelJuly 3, 2019 at 10:53 am

          To clarify (from the article, itself):

          “The one percent sales tax is up for renewal – that accounts for between $7 and $8 million in annual revenue.”

          If that goes up another percentage point, the amount of revenue doubles (to between $14-$16 million, annually).

  13. Bill Marshall

    You said “root”, singular, definitive… so, your response was indeed ‘unresponsive’ and deflecting… question remains… what is “the root”?

    If that goes up another percentage point, the amount of revenue doubles (to between $14-$16 million, annually).

    That is correct, but does not account for all of the Davis sales tax revenue… my point stands, and you at least misspoke, earlier… ‘crickets’ as to admitting that basic fact.

    If the local sales tax sunsets, the City will still get sales tax revenue.  But less.

    Another part…

    Without looking at Dixon’s budget, conclusions such as yours cannot be made.

    Nor, without “looking at Dixon’s budget” can they be refuted…

    https://ci.dixon.ca.us/197/Budgets-and-Audit-Documents

    Then,

    What is their parcel tax, for schools or anything else?

    http://www.dixonusd.org/

    edited

  14. Ron Oertel

    You said “root”, singular, definitive… so, your response was indeed ‘unresponsive’ and deflecting… question remains… what is “the root”?

    A significant portion of the root (in all cities, counties, and state government itself) consists of pension/medical costs, which will reduce on their own in the future (as current retirees die-off). 

    That’s already reflected in the long-term budget projections for Davis.

      1. Ron Oertel

        The “root” will ultimately die-off, as noted in my comment.

        As a side note, I probably wouldn’t be hiring a “communications director” at this time, as the city has done.

        If anyone tells you that they have a “solution” to this statewide problem, I’d suggest that you elect him/her to be the next governor.

        I’m consistently amused by this question.

        1. Ron Oertel

          In fact, it’s not even “my idea” – it’s just a reality, as reflected in the long-term budget.  To be replaced by less-expensive retirees, in the future.

          Death and taxes – the only certainties.

          In the meantime, I’d take it one yearly budget at a time, while simultaneously pursuing options other than a freeway-oriented residential development on prime farmland, outside of city limits.

          What was the justification for the communications director?

        2. Ron Oertel

          In all honesty, I also suspect that the state will have to become more involved during times of surplus, due to the statewide magnitude of the problem.  Newsom already paid down some CALSTRS debt, I understand.

          Or, they’ll just let the entire system collapse.

          Maybe some combination of the two.

          Not something I’m staying awake at night, worrying about. And, I suspect that the current crop of retirees will still escape relatively unscathed.

          But, a day of reckoning might occur, before the system stabilizes. (Beyond the state system, as well.)

        3. Bill Marshall

          Ron, I accept the first part as a fair answer… not short/near-term, but will eventually play out. 20-30 years from now.

          As to your last question, re: Communications Director, je ne sais quoi… after my time, above my paygrade, even then… feel free to review CC agendas/staff reports… or ask CM, CC, etc.

          My spoon has melted. Damn pasta spoons!

        4. Ron Oertel

          Ron, I accept the first part as a fair answer… not short/near-term, but will eventually play out. 20-30 years from now.

          I believe that it starts showing up prior to that point.

          Hopefully, cities and counties won’t get themselves into this predicament again, even before the current batch “plays out”.

          But, I wouldn’t count on it.  That hasn’t been the history so far, anywhere.

          It’s not even the history now (e.g., recent raises, communications director, etc.).  But, at least it’s not as bad as it was, for the moment.

          It’s unfortunate the “effect” shows up so much later than the “cause”.

          This is also ultimately related to Proposition 13, in which revenues were limited, but spending was not. As a result, we provided representatives with blank checks that bounce in the future.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Oh, and I’ve paid into both SS and Medicare, but do not qualify to receive benefits, on my record.

      You’re welcome. Consider it a gift…

  15. Ron Oertel

    Among U.S. states, it looks like California as a whole has the 3rd highest number of roads in poor condition, the 4th highest travel time to work, and the 4th lowest highway spending per driver. (Not sure, but I assume this already accounts for the increased gas tax.)

    On the bright side, we’re at about the median, regarding the structural integrity of bridges.  Yay!

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/states-that-are-falling-apart/ss-AADHG9j?li=BBnbfcN#image=44

     

  16. Ron Oertel

    Regarding Hiram’s comments below, there are a couple of things I’d point out.  (Not necessarily in opposition to the current parcel tax.)

    Hiram:  “A lot of things funded by local school parcel taxes were regular school offerings where I grew up, in another state in another time (in the last century).  Nowadays they are referred to as “nice perks” (your term), something special and extra, and beyond normal.  I think they actually help to make a significant difference in positive outcomes of our students.”

    I agree with this, but would point out that offerings such as music lessons are available outside of the school system, as well.

     Hiram:  “For me it’s about taking local responsibility for local outcomes.”

    This is a more important point.  If Davis homeowners continue footing the bill for residents of other communities, then those communities will be less motivated to fund their own schools.  As a result, those who are “left behind” in those communities will be the ones who might suffer.  There will always be a significant number of families that would not have the ability to transport their kids to Davis schools from surrounding communities.

     

    1. Hiram Jackson

      Ron:  “I agree with this, but would point out that offerings such as music lessons are available outside of the school system, as well.”

      Every educational opportunity is available on a private basis — and if you have enough money, all opportunities are available, including the best private schools.

      But by focusing your comment on music lessons, I think you misunderstand what I value in school performing arts programs, as well as other group programs.  I appreciate my kids (and others’ kids) learning to work together and to communicate with their peers in putting together a performance.  There has to be a sense that some will lead in certain ways and some will follow or support in certain ways.  That individual practice is required to help.  There is a group sense of delayed gratification — that it takes sustained time of practice and rehearsal to look good in performance. 

      There is a sense of school and community identity connected to belong to such groups.  In the process my kids (and others) learn to work with and value students from varied backgrounds and characteristics — different personalities, race/ethnicity, intellectual/academic/learning abilities, religion, national origin, gender/sexual identity, social class, and maybe even students who live in other communities (like Woodland, Dixon, or elsewhere).  They learn that their behavior, both positive and negative, is a reflection on the reputation of the larger group. The experiences and learned skills can apply as much to athletic programs, student government, robotics, newspaper and yearbook staff, speech & debate, and many others.

      These are examples of “soft skills,” “non-cognitive” skills, “character” skills that are developed in such activities and ultimately end up being as valued or more valued to succeed with college, jobs and career.  They also are an element of authentic student engagement in school that maintains student interest.

      This is not a new concept to public schools.  When public high schools first became a thing in the U.S. in the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s, attendance was not compulsory in the same way that it is now.  Immediately high schools developed sports programs, bands, choirs, orchestras, and other activities in order to keep and attract student attendance.  Only when high school attendance became more socially and somewhat legally compulsory did it seem viable to cut these kinds of programs.

    2. Hiram Jackson

      I would also add that there is a school-community relationship that develops in such programs.  Performing arts, by necessity, are performed for an audience.  Most frequently that audience are the student families and friends, but by extension it often ends up being the larger community.  The same with athletics programs, newspaper & yearbook, etc.  They are tangible examples to show what the school does.  I am not going to go watch my kid take a math or English test, but I am going to watch my kid in a performing arts performance or sporting event.

      Such programs are also as much about building broader community connection with the schools as with developing the students

      1. Ron Oertel

        Performing arts, by necessity, are performed for an audience.  Most frequently that audience are the student families and friends, but by extension it often ends up being the larger community.  The same with athletics programs, newspaper & yearbook, etc.  They are tangible examples to show what the school does.  I am not going to go watch my kid take a math or English test, but I am going to watch my kid in a performing arts performance or sporting event.

        Perhaps I’ve been watching too many cartoons (in which even parents don’t particularly want to go to these events). 😉

        In any case, you didn’t address what I described as a more important point regarding the potential negative impact on schools in nearby communities, if their “best and brightest” (or, at least those who are willing to make the effort to transport their kids) are removed from their own community’s schools. 

        It’s likely that this would have a negative impact on schools in nearby communities (and those “left behind”, to attend them). No music lessons or theater for them, I guess. All the more likely, because those who ARE interested in such activities are attending Davis schools, instead. On Davis homeowners’ “tab”.

         

        1. Ron Oertel

          Oh, no!  I was hoping for an escape from it, myself! 😉

          The primary reason I brought this up again is because you mentioned “local responsibility for local outcomes”.

          I’d suggest that the current system (which leads to a differential between the schools in Davis, vs. those in surrounding communities) does not encourage nearby communities to take responsibility for their own local schools. And, the children left behind in those schools may suffer, as a result.

        2. Don Shor

          It’s likely that this would have a negative impact on schools in nearby communities (and those “left behind”, to attend them). No music lessons or theater for them, I guess. All the more likely, because those who ARE interested in such activities are attending Davis schools, instead. On Davis homeowners’ “tab”.

          There is no particular reason to believe that interdistrict students participate in any particular extracurricular activities at disproportional rates compared to the other students of their districts of residence. There are theater and music and sports programs in Dixon and Woodland.
          When our kids were interdistrict transfer students, most of the other ID parents I knew had their kids here for the same reason we did: it’s where we work.
          If a parcel tax was proposed for residents of the Dixon school district for such purposes, I would certainly support it. I think those programs are good for every district. I would certainly prefer to come up with a more equitable system for funding school districts, but ever since Prop 13 and Serrano v. Priest, people have been trying to figure that out without much success.

        3. Ron Oertel

          Don:  “There are theater and music and sports programs in Dixon and Woodland.”

          Didn’t you state above (and previously) that Davis offered a much greater variety, essentially due to the existing parcel tax?

          And, didn’t you and Hiram state that this was desirable, from the point of view of parents and students?  (Hiram has some lengthy comments about that, above.)

          Don:  “When our kids were interdistrict transfer students, most of the other ID parents I knew had their kids here for the same reason we did: it’s where we work.”

          I’m not sure if the requirements regarding this have changed over the years (as DJUSD has become more “desperate” to maintain enrollment levels).  I recall some discussion on here that DJUSD is now purposefully seeking out students who are not in the district.  Sort of like “headhunters”. What impact might that have on schools in surrounding communities?

          Regardless, I suspect that for many parents, the “differential” between the schools in their own communities and those in Davis are a significant factor regarding their choice of school districts.  For some, it might even be a reason to seek or maintain employment in Davis, or at UCD.

          There are families in nearby communities who are not eligible (or otherwise cannot attend) Davis schools.  The families left behind in those schools will suffer, if Davis schools are “siphoning off” those who are able to take advantage of the situation.  (On Davis homeowners’ tab, of course.)

          1. Don Shor

            Don: “There are theater and music and sports programs in Dixon and Woodland.”

            Didn’t you state above (and previously) that Davis offered a much greater variety, essentially due to the existing parcel tax?

            Those two sentences are not in conflict. You said “No music lessons or theater for them, I guess.” That is false. Other districts have music and theater programs, as well as sports and other extracurricular programs. I don’t know how those are funded. Davis voters have chosen to fund those program specially.
            The point I made in our previous conversation was that Davis has more course offerings. The example I cited in a long-ago thread was foreign languages.

            The families left behind in those schools will suffer, if Davis schools are “siphoning off” those who are able to take advantage of the situation.

            I’m not sure how they “suffer.” The ADA is supposed to be based on the actual cost of educating a child in the district. So the net loss of students is supposedly a wash: lost expenses vs. lost revenues. It would be very difficult to say whether the state calculation of ADA funding is an accurate reflection of the actual cost. And under the Brown administration policy some districts get more funding per capita because of higher specific needs. Basically, I think your assertion is neither provable nor falsifiable.

            (On Davis homeowners’ tab, of course.)

            Property owners, not homeowners.
            All of us who own parcels pay the parcel tax. There is no alternative method of adding funds to the school district. There is no way to charge the interdistrict transfer students’ parents for that. I have said that dozens of times over many years, because this really seems to stick in the craw of some people in Davis. So I would just point out that many people who reside in Davis pay the parcel tax and gain nothing from it directly, and everyone who has business property in Davis pays the parcel tax and most probably gain nothing from it directly (we were exceptions), and there is no equitable solution to this.

        4. Ron Oertel

          Don:  “When our kids were interdistrict transfer students, most of the other ID parents I knew had their kids here for the same reason we did: it’s where we work.”

          I suspect that there’s quite a few parents who live in Davis, but work in a surrounding community (including, but not limited to Sacramento).

          I wonder if there’s even a single example of a parent who would voluntarily select a public school in a surrounding community where they work, vs. a Davis school.  (Assuming that such a transfer is allowed.)

        5. Matt Williams

          Ron said . . . Didn’t you state above (and previously) that Davis offered a much greater variety, essentially due to the existing parcel tax?

          And, didn’t you and Hiram state that this was desirable, from the point of view of parents and students?  (Hiram has some lengthy comments about that, above.)

          Ron, you appear to be approaching this discussion between you, Don and Hiram using two rhetorical devices.  The first of those devices is being a devil’s advocate, essentially taking a contrarian position regarding anything that either Don or Hiram say.  The result is that your comments come across as a series of disconnected vignettes.  There doesn’t appear to be an intellectual “center” to your position/argument, but rather a series of waving tentacles.  The second of those devices is the pursuit of binary polarization using “What if?” and/or “What about?” questions for which the concept of “reasonable doubt” does not apply.  Another way to say that is that your questions are founded on the Napoleonic Code principle of “Guilty, until proven innocent.”  

        6. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  Thanks for your critique, but I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.

          No, I’m not playing “devils’ advocate”. I’m merely pointing out some unintended consequences resulting from the differential between Davis schools and those in surrounding communities.

        7. Matt Williams

          Ron, the meaning is there in black and white if you care to take the time to understand it.
          I thought about your persistent unwillingness to understand this morning when I was at my weekly book club.  The following passage from the portion of the book we were discussing this week really resonated vis-a-vis your approach  … especially the final ten words.
          But he said, ‘Alas for you lawyers as well, because you load on people burdens that are unendurable, burdens that you yourselves do not touch with your fingertips.

        8. Ron Oertel

          Matt:  As I mentioned in the other article, it’s a beautifully-written passage.  But, it has no relationship to what I’ve stated.

          I have no beef with you.  I’m not even sure why you’re commenting, at this point. Did you intend to make the number of comments an “even 200”? If so, I’m sorry for ruining it, with this one.

        9. Matt Williams

          You are right Ron it has little to do with what you have stated.  Rather is has everything to do with how and why you have stated it.

  17. Ron Oertel

    Don:  “Those two sentences are not in conflict. You said “No music lessons or theater for them, I guess.” That is false. Other districts have music and theater programs, as well as sports and other extracurricular programs. I don’t know how those are funded. Davis voters have chosen to fund those program specially.”

    The point I made in our previous conversation was that Davis has more course offerings. 

    Seems to me that you’re (now) focusing on statements which obscure and shift-away from your original claims, regarding the “desirability” of the additional offerings funded by the Davis parcel tax.

    I’m not sure how they “suffer.”

    See your earlier claims, regarding the desirability of such programs (and your comparison between Dixon and Davis schools, regarding that).

    So again, if residents of surrounding communities are able to gain access to such programs and/or generally take advantage of the perceived quality of Davis schools (without having to pay the parcel tax which funds those extra activities), that’s a disincentive for them to fund their own local schools. And, families from nearby communities who don’t qualify to attend Davis schools (or otherwise cannot attend) will not have the same opportunities as those that do.

    And, no one seems particularly concerned about that.

    1. Ron Oertel

      I guess it depends upon whether or not one believes that DJUSD “needs” to siphon-off students from other communities (and the impact that has, on those communities).

  18. Ron Oertel

    Don:  “Property owners, not homeowners.”

    I already understand that entire apartment buildings occupying a parcel of land pay the same amount as a single-family dwelling.  And, that Affordable housing is exempt, as are senior homeowners (above a certain age, and if they request it). Not sure if there are other exemptions.

    Was wondering how this works, regarding commercial properties.  For example, does a small nursery pay the same amount as a Mori Seiki, assuming that they each occupy a single parcel? And, is the amount the same as a residential parcel?

    Just curious.

    Not asking you to look it up – just seeing if you know off the top of your head.

      1. Don Shor

        In 2016 Dixon school district voters approved a general obligation bond to pay for building improvements and repair. Those only require 55% vote to pass, and it did with 60%. It is an ad valorem tax on the property tax bill, so it is based on the assessed value of the property.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Good info…

          School districts get:  ADA funds from State (comes from property tax withholds); parcel taxes; GO bond payments (taxes, generally, but not always ad valorem); Mello Roos taxes (parcel, not ad valorem, per se, but based on parcel size, at least in Davis)… there are two districts in Davis, and for some, they overlap, depending on when house was originally built… the latter (“Second” MR) were voted on by the few owners when the property was first developed, and passed on to HO’s for ~ 30 years.

          The MR’s were for facilities, as were GO bonds… the rest go to “programs” (“programs” = salaries/benefits + equipment)… accountants would need to figure out if those funds have been mixed, or not.

          Our total DJUSD assessments, today, total > $1400/yr, NOT counting the portion of property tax the State siphons off to pay for schools… yet, I have no problem with that, if DJUSD would be fiscally responsible… I could go into many instances when they were not… big time… construction of Emerson… failing to successfully seek other funding for Montgomery… looking to the City to fund improvements to DHS, and Harper, etc., etc., etc. But I won’t go there…

          Their admin is top-heavy,  generally overly paid/underworked… and no accountability as to effectiveness… but, “it’s for the kids”, so they can do no wrong…

          It is what it is…

          But they want to pump the well more… OK… will consider… no promises…

           

  19. Bill Marshall

    Just curious.
    Not asking you to look it up – just seeing if you know off the top of your head.

    Damn good progress!  Stay the course… meant as a compliment, affirmation… will lead you to be more effective…

    Trust me on this…

    1. Ron Oertel

      Actually, I was thinking of you when I added that comment.

      In any case, I brought it up because Don made the comment regarding “property owners”, but such a statement might be misleading for someone unfamiliar with how it’s actually applied.

      1. Bill Marshall

        Which is cool… two levels…

        I shared the curiousity… Don has now informed both of us, and others…

        Thank you, Don, for the info… facts ‘good’… reliable cites even better

  20. Bill Marshall

    Sidebar… David… this time I know that I changed no channels, either within or without of the DV… still getting the “You can no longer edit this comment” message 2.5 minutes away from the “shot clock” expiration.

    ‘Houston, there is a problem…’

  21. Hiram Jackson

    In any case, you didn’t address what I described as a more important point regarding the potential negative impact on schools in nearby communities, if their “best and brightest” (or, at least those who are willing to make the effort to transport their kids) are removed from their own community’s schools. 

    It’s likely that this would have a negative impact on schools in nearby communities (and those “left behind”, to attend them). No music lessons or theater for them, I guess. All the more likely, because those who ARE interested in such activities are attending Davis schools, instead. On Davis homeowners’ “tab”.

    Districts have money from the state that they can decide to spend locally how they want to in justified ways.  A district like Woodland gets more money from the state than Davis, per student, even when Davis’ local parcel taxes are added in.  As such Woodland has flexibility to offer what Davis offers to attract students.

    As a Davis taxpayer, up to a point I don’t mind that there are students from out of district who attend Davis schools, even if their parents don’t pay.  It gives the district a chance to staff more efficiently.  Ultimately I think such students support the Davis school brand and philosophy.

    This is also a key way that Davis JUSD can attract teachers to work in the district – if they work in Davis they can enroll their own kids there.  Given that conventional DJUSD teacher compensation isn’t as competitive as other regional districts, this is a key way to leverage recruiting teachers.  Personally I think that teachers whose own children are enrolled in the district are likelier to be more committed and give me more confidence in the district.

    As I noted in other comments, I don’t believe that there is ever a perfectly fair tax assessment.  There will always be some basis for someone to complain.

    1. Ron Oertel

      Districts have money from the state that they can decide to spend locally how they want to in justified ways.  A district like Woodland gets more money from the state than Davis, per student, even when Davis’ local parcel taxes are added in.  As such Woodland has flexibility to offer what Davis offers to attract students.

      That might be viewed as an argument against the parcel tax.  (That is, the state would step-in with more money, if Davis schools start to deteriorate – depending upon the criteria the state uses when making such decisions.)

      The state is essentially telling communities like Davis, “if you don’t pay for it, we will”.

      1. Hiram Jackson

        I see.  So do you think that is the strategy that the Woodland community is adopting?  ‘Let our school system deteriorate so we can get more money?’  And you would suggest Davis follow that? It’s a strange strategy, one that would incentevize toward mediocrity.

        I don’t think parents of current students in Davis schools would find that an acceptable rationale.

        1. Ron Oertel

          You just held up Woodland schools as a “positive” example, above.

          Perhaps the best way to look at this is that there’s an “insurance policy” (paid for by the state) if Davis schools start to deteriorate.

          Whether or not they actually deteriorate (e.g., from not providing raises to teachers) is not something that can be easily determined.

          If I were advocating for an increase in teacher salaries, I would just state it as such (with no additional claims regarding its impact on schools). Personally, I think such an effort is ill-timed. I also agree with David’s earlier comments, that the existing parcel tax should have been raised (by some limited amount), vs. coming back again to voters so soon.

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