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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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City of Grass Valley
Measure E - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


1,119 votes yes (59.7%)

754 votes no (40.3%)

Shall the measure expand funding for such general fund purposes as increased police and fire services, enhancing parks and recreational services, and improving streets and sidewalks, with all funds staying local and all expenditures subject to an annual audit by an independent citizen oversight committee, repealing the existing ½ percent City transaction and use (sales) tax, and replacing it with an ongoing 1 percent sales tax, which will raise approximately $5,400.000.00 annually, be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

A “yes” vote supports imposing the tax.

NO vote means

A "No" vote opposes the tax. A simple majority of votes (50% plus 1) will pass or defeat the measure. If the measure is defeated, Measure N will remain in effect until 2023.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Michael G. Colantuono, Grass Valley City Attorney

One-Cent Sales Tax Proposal In 2012, Grass Valley voters approved Measure N to adopt a half-cent (0.5%) transactions and use tax. This kind of tax is often called a “sales” tax. Measure N expires in 2023. This measure was proposed by a petition of City voters and would replace Measure N with a one-cent (1%) sales tax. The money from the tax would go into the City’s general fund and could be used for any lawful City purpose, including but not limited to: police officers and firefighters, police and fire equipment, street paving, sidewalk repair, park improvements and recreation services.

The tax would be in addition to existing state and local sales taxes and would be collected along with them. It would only apply to purchases of things subject to existing sales taxes. For example, purchases of prescription drugs and most food would not be taxed.

The tax has no expiration date, but voters could reduce or repeal it at any election. A Citizen’s Oversight Board will review an independent audit of tax receipts and how they are spent each year and advise the City Council on how tax money should be spent. The Council must discuss the audit results at a public meeting each year and post them on the City’s website.

A “yes” vote supports imposing the tax; a “no” vote opposes the tax. A simple majority of votes (50% plus 1) will pass or defeat the measure. If this measure is defeated, Measure N will remain in effect until 2023.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

As a community we have the opportunity to create our own future. The current economic environment is particularly challenging for municipalities striving to provide first class service and amenities to residents. The future of Grass Valley very well could hinge in this moment of opportunity. By voting YES on Measure E, you will be part of creating a safer, brighter, and more livable Grass Valley.

  • Voting YES will provide additional police personal and resources to better address the growing challenges associated with narcotics, mental illness, and homelessness. The police department will utilize Measure E funding to enhance public safety through improved crime detection and prevention methodologies, additional patrols, community interaction, and participation in forward-thinking programs.
  • Voting YES will provide additional fire personnel and higher levels of medical intervention as firefighters will be certified as paramedics, providing them the ability to provide advanced life support services for community residents. In addition, funding will increase fire protection to mitigate our high risk wildfire environment.
  • Voting YES will provide funding for much needed parks and recreation improvements in Grass Valley. Combined with public safety resources, parks will become the place we remember them to be, full of children playing, recreational sports venues, and places for community connections.
  • Voting YES will continue funding for street rehabilitation to ensure safe streets, improved sidewalks, and greater accessibility for generations to come.

With Measure E, Grass Valley's sales-tax rate will still be LESS than Nevada City and revenue will remain LOCAL. Not only residents, but visitors to our community will contribute to help fund these much-needed programs.

Measure E provides for annual independent audits and a citizen's oversight committee to ensure money goes where it is promised.

Vote YES to define the future of Grass Valley for you, your family, and future generations. Vote YES to restore the place we call home.

Daniel Swartzendruber
Business Owner

Marty Lombardi
Community Member

Elizabeth Poston
Business Professional

— Nevada County Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

Should we vote to double the existing temporary tax and make it permanent? Not without robust transparency and accountability!

This new general tax, if approved, can be legally used for anything the City wants, with undefined oversight by a small group of City picked citizens.

Our existing tax has provided new police officers and improved streets as promised- a good thing - but the City has a mixed record for using taxpayer funds. For example, the City transferred millions of dollars from a taxpayer backed City bond that was originally issued to fix existing streets and infrastructure but was instead used for the new Dorsey Interchange (later "disallowed" by the California Department of Finance in a letter, May 5, 2013 ).

The proposal states funds will be used for, among other things, hiring more police officers but our Grass Valley police chief recently told the City Council that crime is not increasing. Meanwhile, more hiring means new retirement pension obligations that will reduce the amount of taxes available for fixing our streets and parks or helping with our homeless problems.

This seemingly feel good measure should be rejected and replaced with a well defined tax proposal that clearly states how our hard earned dollars will be used so that we taxpayers can vote on whether we approve or disapprove.

Taxes are important to enable government to maintain or enhance our quality of life, but if the City needs the anticipated additional $5 plus million in annual tax revenue, one doesn't need to be a fiscal conservative or small government advocate to demand "for what, exactly"?

Please vote no on measure E.

Terry Lamphier
Former Nevada County Supervisor, District 3

— Nevada County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR

Measure E wants to fix problems that don't exist. Why do we need more police when our District Attorney, GV police chief and the FBI say crime here is static or dropping?

The point of taxes is to address problems, not create new ones. Measure E's emphasis on hiring more public safety officers would create permanent pension ( debt) obligations and increase court and jail systems costs, reducing the available amount of money that could be used instead for streets and parks.

Instead of doubling taxes and making them permanent, a proactive use of existing tax money to fund substance abuse, mental illness and homeless programs makes more sense. Why spend money on law enforcement, courts and jails to warehouse people when we can directly help these folks become contributing citizens again?

As to fire protection, we need strong leadership that's willing to consolidate agencies and reduce costly administrative duplication, freeing up existing tax money to hire more actual firefighters with no net increased costs to taxpayers.

Finally, the proposed 'citizen oversight committee' and its role has never been formally defined and historically has never reported to taxpaying voters. As a past member of Grass Valley's Fee Committee, Planning Commission and Redevelopment Agency Oversight Committee, I can attest that the history of Grass Valley oversight entities have too often failed in the task of impartial due diligence.

We can do better. Please vote no on measure E

Terry Lamphier
Former Nevada County Supervisor, District 3

— Nevada County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Voters should ask the question, who could be opposed to supporting law enforcement, first responders, city streets, and improving our parks? 

What could be more robust transparency than a track record of five years exhibiting how the existing 0.5% sales tax has been implemented and used? Since its inception, the Oversight Committee has met at least three times a year. The meetings are published, open to the public, and subject to Brown Act disclosure rules. The Committee has held the City accountable, insuring that the funds were used for the intended priorities. The new sales tax is estimated to generate an additional $2.5 million dollars. It will be managed with the same openness and transparency. 

It is not complicated to see “For what, exactly…” the proceeds of this measure will support. Crime statistics may not be increasing, but those of us that are citizens of Grass Valley are well aware of the noticeable increase in vagrancy, homelessness, and drug activity. The “argument against” author joins us in acknowledging that our Measure is “a feel good measure”. Everyone recognizes the need is there. Will it feel good to have an increased police presence downtown and in our parks? Will it feel good to know that additional first responders will be trained to help save lives? Will it feel good to have our streets resurfaced and sidewalks improved? Will it feel good to have mothers and children feel safe when using our improved parks? Of course it does. Vote Yes on Measure E! 

Daniel Swartzendruber
Business Owner

Marty Lombardi 
Community Member 

Elizabeth Poston
Business Professional


— Nevada County Registrar of Voters

More information

News (1)

Tax measures for Nevada City, Grass Valley residents on June ballot — April 6, 2018 The Union - Western Nevada County
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