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The proposed measure would increase our sales tax rate by one cent, providing approximately $14 million annually to maintain and enhance public safety and essential city services. For example, a one-cent increase would add one dollar to a $100 purchase. Groceries, medicine and other essential items are excluded from sales tax.
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The City of Murrieta is known for its high quality of life, with strong public safety services, well-maintained streets and beloved parks. In Murrieta, we believe that we are all neighbors and we strive to be good partners to our community. In fact, 70% of local police officers and firefighters live right here in the community they serve.
The City of Murrieta is among the safest cities in Riverside County and one of the few with its own Police and Fire Departments. We believe every second counts when it comes to an emergency, and adequate police officers, firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers are needed to ensure fast 911 emergency response times.
The City of Murrieta works hard to ensure local streets, parks and public spaces are safe, clean and well-maintained. A strong public library and parks and recreation system, including after school, sports and summer recreational programs, provide kids in our community with safe and supervised activities that keep them off the streets, away from gangs and out of trouble. Our community senior center helps keep our residents independent, active and engaged.
The quality of neighborhood streets and roads is critical to reducing traffic congestion, maintaining safe neighborhoods and keeping our commercial areas appealing for patrons of Murrieta's local businesses. Safe and clean parks and neighborhoods help maintain our high quality of life, protect local property values and keep Murrieta a special place to live. However, local streets, sidewalks and community facilities require ongoing maintenance that is beyond currently available resources. If we do not address these issues now, it will be more expensive to repair and maintain them in the future.
Murrieta has grown in recent years, but funding for public safety programs and other essential city services has not kept pace. Over the last seven years, our City has been responsible stewards of limited resources, proactively reducing staff and streamlining city services to maintain the level of service our community has come to expect. Even with these necessary steps, the City faces a structural deficit of several million dollars in the coming fiscal years. Tough decisions are looming that could threaten our safety and quality of life unless a local solution is identified.
For over a year, our City has been working to identify all options to increase revenues and reduce expenditures to address our impending budget deficit. Community input and engagement are critical components as we develop a plan to address critical funding needs and work to maintain and improve the services provided to our residents. Currently, the City is considering placing a one-cent sales tax on the November 2018 ballot to offset this funding deficit and keep Murrieta safe and thriving.
A potential local funding measure could maintain the City's long-term financial viability and provide funding for essential city services, such as:
The City is committed to transparency and responsible fiscal stewardship. A potential sales tax measure would be subject to strict accountability requirements to ensure the proper use of funds, including:
No. The funds could not be taken away by the State or used for other purposes, ensuring that our tax dollars are used locally.
Yes. A sales tax measure is not a property tax and visitors would pay their fair share, ensuring that local homeowners and renters don’t shoulder the entire burden.
No. By law, essential purchases like these are exempt from sales tax.
We welcome community input as we continue to explore a potential sales tax measure. For more information on how to Keep Murrieta Strong, email Join the Conversation.