Measure A will provide a half-cent sales tax to fund public safety staffing and services. The new tax will allow the Chula Vista Fire and Police Departments to add police officers and firefighters to provide faster responses to 9-1-1 emergency calls, increase neighborhood police patrols, reduce gang and drug-related crimes, address homelessness, and improve firefighter, paramedic and emergency medical response times.
- More than $17 million annually will be generated for public safety staffing and services.
Measure A included strict accountability provisions with a separate account to track income and expenses, annual audits and an independent citizens’ oversight committee to ensure that all funds are spent appropriately. The City Council has approved an intended funding plan that will identify how the tax dollars will support public safety staffing and services. The half-cent sales tax is considered a general tax and can be used for any lawful municipal purpose.
- We are fortunate to live in a great community with quality local schools, safe neighborhoods, a vibrant economy and beautiful surroundings. In order to protect our quality of life here in Chula Vista, our City works with the community to identify our most urgent needs.
The City of Chula Vista, like many cities throughout the country, is struggling to properly fund and maintain public safety staffing. Public Safety, which includes police and fire services, is a top priority in the City of Chula Vista. The City allocates 67% of discretionary revenues to Police and Fire services combined. However, staffing levels for Police and Fire are below regional, state, and national averages.
The City Manager has formed the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). The committee includes Chula Vista residents, business owners, community leaders and others. The committee has worked with staff liaisons from Fire, Police, Administration and Finance Departments to secure public input that would assist in creating Public Safety Staffing reports and recommendations for City Council consideration.
At the direction of the City Council, staff reviewed revenue options to address the need for additional public safety staffing. Those options included sales tax, property tax, Public Safety Community Facilities District, Public Safety Fees and Fee Increases, and Transient Occupancy Tax. Input was provided at the Public Safety Advisory Committee as well as in community presentations, through a scientific, public opinion survey and public input at the September 26 and December 19, 2017 City Council meetings. Following the meetings, public input, and reports from the Police and Fire Departments, the City Council directed the City Manager to return with a recommendation for a half-cent sales tax on the June or November 2018 ballot.
The City Council has approved the Intended Public Safety Expenditure Plan (Plan). The Plan identifies two phases to address the staffing shortage in public safety. Phase I outlines the most critical needs identified by the Police and Fire Departments for the next 10 years.
The Chula Vista Police and Fire Departments have developed a phased plan to address critical staffing needs. Phase I identifies a ten-year strategy to fill positions starting Fiscal Year 2018/19 through FY 2028/29.
- Chula Vista Police Department – In Phase I, 43 police department positions will be filled. The sworn positions include 29 officers, agents and sergeants. Phase I also includes hiring 14 civilian positions including dispatchers, community service officers, background investigators, and facilities and systems managers.
- Chula Vista Fire Department – In Phase I, 36 fire department positions will be filed which includes a deputy chief, fire captains, firefighter/paramedics, firefighters, and a public education specialist.
Although addressing these needs does not solve the staffing crisis entirely, it does allow the departments to significantly improve the service level provided to residents and businesses throughout the City. Phase I public safety critical needs could be funded by a half-cent sales tax measure which would generate approximately $17 million per year. Phase II public safety critical needs could move forward as the City’s economic base improves and major transformational projects begin moving forward such as the Bayfront and University development projects. Other funding options may also be considered in the future as part of the annual budget process. The half-cent sales tax is considered a general tax and can be used for any lawful municipal purpose. The City will establish a separate account to track income and expenses, annual audits and an independent citizens’ oversight committee to ensure that all funds are spent appropriately.
The measure will be on the June 5, 2018 ballot.
The City Manager formed the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) in August 2017. The committee includes Chula Vista residents, business owners, community leaders and others. The committee has worked with staff liaisons from Fire, Police, Administration and Finance Departments to secure public input that would assist in creating Public Safety Staffing reports and recommendations for City Council consideration.