Make Your Plan to Vote Yes on Measure M on Tuesday, June 5, 2018
*Measure M is a City Charter Amendment that will help our city maintain important public safety services such as fire, 9-1-1 paramedic, and police.
For more than 60 years, our city has been able to transfer surplus funds from utility revenues to our general fund to support services such as parks, street repairs, and senior programs.
Measure M will help us continue this practice and prevent a budget shortfall in the upcoming year. It will also not affect the rates of your electric, telephone, cable, or internet services.
Together, we have fought hard to restore vital public safety services, such as Rescue 12. Now we need you to take action once again to protect key 911 emergency services.
Your vote on Measure M will help determine the future of Long Beach. Please vote Yes on Measure M on Tuesday, June 5th.
WHAT IS MEASURE M?
Measure M is a City Charter Amendment to explicitly authorize and affirm the transfer of surplus City utility revenues to the City’s general fund to support services for Long Beach residents such as police, fire, and 911 paramedic and other general government services. These transfers have been used to support general City services for over 60 years.
WHY WAS MEASURE M PLACED ON THE BALLOT?
If approved by Long Beach voters, Measure M will eliminate the potential negative impacts on general City services from litigation filed by two individuals who claim that the utility fund transfers to the general fund are not allowed under the State Constitution unless there is a vote authorizing them. Measure M provides the opportunity for Long Beach voters to authorize and affirm these transfers.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF MEASURE M PASSES?
If Measure M passes, the City would continue utility fund transfers to the general fund per past practice, subject to a new 12% cap on transfers from the Water, Sewer and Gas utility funds.
WHAT TYPE OF CONTROLS AND LIMITS ARE IN THE CHARTER AMENDMENT?
The Charter Amendment adds a new limitation preventing any utility fund transfer to the general fund from exceeding 12% of that utility’s annual gross revenues. The Amendment also adds a new requirement for an annual independent audit of each utility fund transfer to ensure it complies with the Charter provision.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT TO THE CITY FROM THE UTILITY FUND TRANSFER LITIGATION?
The City estimates the utility fund transfer litigation could reduce general fund revenues by between $8.3 million and $18 million per year. The impact would likely be a reduction of City services. Significant reductions would likely be necessary to absorb the budget impact of the utility fund transfer litigation.
WHAT CITY SERVICES WOULD BE IMPACTED IF MEASURE M IS NOT PASSED?
General City services affected would likely include 9-1-1 emergency response, police services, firefighting services, paramedic response, maintenance of streets, storm drains, neighborhood parks, senior services, libraries, and homelessness services. These reductions would likely be put in place with the new City budget in October 2018.
WHAT EFFECT WILL MEASURE M HAVE ON WATER, SEWER AND GAS RATES?
Under Measure M, the average rates are expected to be similar to what ratepayers have historically paid. For context on today’s rates, the City’s combined Water and Sewer rates in 2017 were on average $15 per month lower than Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, and Golden State Water. Gas utility rates for residential customers in 2016 and 2017 were on average $0.54 per month lower than those of the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas).
ARE OTHER UTILITIES IMPACTED IN TERMS OF RATES?
No. Electric, telephone, cable, and internet services are not City services and would not be affected.
HOW DID THE LAWSUITS IMPACT THE CITY?
The lawsuit challenging the water and sewer utility fund transfer was settled by the City and the lawsuit challenging the gas utility fund transfer remains under appeal. The settlement reduced the water and sewer utility transfer to the general fund and reduced water and sewer rates by about $3 per month for the typical customer. The City will repay the water and sewer utilities approximately $12 million over a four-year period for prior transfers. The impact of the water/sewer lawsuit is a loss of about $8.3 million per year in ongoing funding for police, fire, and other general City services. The gas lawsuit is under appeal and, if the plaintiff is successful, could have an impact of another $10 million per year. Taken together, the potential reduction in funding totals over $18 million per year.
HOW MUCH REVENUE WOULD MEASURE M PROVIDE?
Measure M will authorize and affirm the City’s practice of making utility revenue transfers from the City’s water, sewer and gas utilities to the General Fund not to exceed 12% of utility gross revenues or approximately $26 million annually.
WILL THESE FUNDS BE USED TO BALANCE THE FISCAL YEAR 2019 BUDGET?
No, the FY 19 proposed budget is currently expected to be balanced through budget-balancing actions that do NOT include the use of utility revenue transfers above previous levels. Measure M will authorize reinstatement and continuation of utility revenue transfers that will prevent what would otherwise be a shortfall if those revenues were lost due to litigation.
WHEN IS MEASURE M ON THE BALLOT?
The election is on June 5, 2018.
Long Beach is a great city with many distinct neighborhoods. I believe that every citizen and every neighborhood deserves quality of life, public safety, and an opportunity to thrive.
Over the past four years, as 9th District Councilmember and now Vice Mayor, together we’ve worked to change the culture of city hall to be smarter, more inclusive, and more responsive to the needs of our neighborhoods, businesses, and Long Beach’s working families.
We’ve fought to protect and restore vital public safety services with the restoration of Paramedic Rescue 12 and other key public safety resources, ensuring better response times in North Long Beach and across the city.
We’ve transformed our neighborhoods, with miles of new protected bike lanes, new murals across the corridors, new development on the horizon, and the new state-of-the-art Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, delivered on time and under budget.
And with the creation of the new Long Beach Office of Equity and the launch of the first Participatory Budgeting initiative in Southern California, we’ve worked hard to ensure every Long Beach neighborhood is treated fairly and has a seat at the table.
That’s what creating a more equitable city is about.
Together, we can continue to build a Long Beach for everyone.