Tom McGreal | Stratford Court
When the voters approved Measure Q in the November 2016 election to increase the Sales Tax rate by 1%, the City Council established an Oversight Committee to monitor the receipt and expenditure of all Measure Q funds.
The Oversight Committee has watched the receipts grow from $734,344 in fiscal 2017 (which was a partial year) to $2.7 million for fiscal year 2018. Measure Q receipts for the first five months of fiscal year 2019 total $1.4 million with the total fiscal year 2019 budget projected to be $2.5 million. These revenue numbers are exceeding the earlier expectations, which is good news as we start to make spending commitments for Measure Q funds.
The City Council reaffirmed its commitment to the three priority projects several months ago, which means that Downtown Streetscape, Undergrounding, and Shores Park development will utilize the Measure Q funds for the foreseeable future.
To date the actual spending for each of these projects has been limited to $300,000. Recently the City Council committed to proceed with the Downtown Streetscape project, which will cost $6.7 million and will be funded with Measure Q money and the previously approved balance of Streetscape money in the Capital Improvement Fund. This will require the City to advance $400,000 from the General Fund Contingency reserves in order to fund the entire project. The General Fund will be replenished with the first Measure Q proceeds in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.
In addition, Measure Q reserves include a fiscal year 2019 budget for Undergrounding planning costs totaling $424,500 and Shores Park planning costs of $166,530.
The most significant decisions for Measure Q are now taking shape as the Undergrounding Advisory Committee gets ready to present the initial project reports to City Council in March. The City Council and the community will be considering some important questions as the Undergrounding plan is discussed.
How long will the project take to implement and complete? How long must we commit Measure Q revenues to pay for the project? How much debt can the City reasonably incur at any given time? Should residents who are being undergounded contribute some percentage of the cost?
The Measure Q Oversight Committee is fulfilling the ballot promise to watch over the revenues and expenditures. Stay tuned for updates on developments.