Town of Paradise

Measure V Information

Measure V - 10 Year Sales Tax Extension

Measure V is a revenue measure that will be placed on the November 6, 2018 ballot. The measure calls for a ½ percent local sales tax, which would sunset after ten years to maintain Town of Paradise public services.  Measure V will begin April 1, 2021, when Measure C expires. To pass, the measure must obtain 50% +1 of the Paradise residents voting in the November election.  The full text of the question to be placed on the ballot is as follows:

Measure V FAQs

What is Measure V all about?

The Town provides public services that benefit our community – things like police protection, fire suppression, emergency medical services, street maintenance and road repairs, animal control and shelter services and other necessary services that benefit all Paradise residents and visitors. Maintaining these public services is not cheap. Being a quaint bedroom community with a small business district, revenues are limited. Read More...

Essentially, the problem is, despite extensive cuts to personnel, benefits, and all non-essential purchasing, the Town’s costs are greater than its revenue. For years, prior to Measure C, the Town balanced its budget by deferring critical equipment replacement and facility maintenance. It became clear that could not continue as fire trucks and police cars were found broken down on Town streets and roofs began to fail. Living within our means has also meant maintaining services with bare minimum staffing with increasing turnover.

Measure C provides 10% of the resources necessary to sustain general services, and Measure C expires in less than three years. Measure C has addressed many of the Town’s most pressing needs, but financial projections show without the extension, the Town will have to cut back our police and fire budgets and forego opportunities for road projects. This is not a scare tactic, but the public needs to know what our Town will look like without the sales tax bump.  There is no way to keep police and fire services at the current level without the sales tax extension.

The Butte County Grand Jury, after extensive study, recommends that the tax measure be extended. As illustrated in the following charts, nearby cities have a much higher percentage of revenue coming from sales tax compared with Paradise.  The charts also show that per person, Paradise residents are spending the least on their local government services -   Paradise is a beautiful bedroom community – something most residents agree is a good thing.   Paradise will never be another Chico, even with an increase in the economic base through small business in town.  Measure C has provided an infusion to the Town’s sales tax revenue that has allowed Paradise to make some much needed investments in the community.  Measure V would continue this investment until 2031.

Did the Town keep its promises related to Measure C?

The Town has been good stewards of Measure C funds, investing in personnel and equipment to sustain police, fire, animal control and Town roads. Each quarter, the Measure C Citizens Oversight Committee has reviewed and approved the Measure C expenditures. With these monies, the Town was able to provide funding for the following items: Read More...

I pay enough taxes.  Where does all the money go?

The Town receives only a small portion of the taxes that you pay. Most of its funding to maintain important general services come from property and sales taxes. However, of the 1% paid in property taxes, the Town of Paradise receives less than 23%. Read More...

The rest goes to other local agencies like the school district, the water district and the park district. For example, on a $200,000 home, the Town receives $460 per year to sustain police, fire, animal control and maintain roads. The Town receives 1% of the 7.25% paid in sales taxes. Our current local Sales Tax Measure C, a half percent sales tax, is retained in its entirety by Paradise.  None of that money can be taken by the State or Federal agencies and is spent in our community for Police, Fire, Roads and Animal Control.   The Town competes, whenever possible, to bring Federal and State funds back to the community from which they were paid. This money, however, comes back in the form of grants that can only be spent on very specific purposes and cannot be used to preserve basic public safety operations.

Why not wait until Measure C expires to place an extension on the ballot?

The Town wants to continue to be fiscally responsible and responsive to the needs of the community. Read More...

  • Already, the Town is in a holding pattern. All projected future Measure C receipts have been carefully planned out and committed. Minimal Measure C reserves have been arranged to allow for support of some basic ongoing expenses for two years after the expiration; however, this leaves no room for equipment replacement, emergency expenditures or grant matching funds for the final two years.
  • The Town is, even now, short on funding for an AB109 officer position at the Police Department that was temporarily funded through a grant. This additional officer has been very helpful in dealing with the realities of prisoners early release and related criminal activities
  • The Town will enter into negotiations to renew a CAL FIRE contract prior to the expiration of Measure C. Between continued savings requests and Measure C support, 11.6% of the funding for the future CAL FIRE contract is unknown. The Town must know going in, if it can afford to maintain current minimum staffing levels for its wildfire vulnerable community.

Why a 10 year extension; why not more or less?

The Town has a substantial bond obligation that will be repaid in 2031. Long-term financial projections show that with the bond payoff, the Town should be in a much better position to maintain operations without the assistance of a tax measure. Read More...

Further, the Town would like the opportunity to reexamine its position after ten years given that Federal or State laws may change related to how sales tax for online purchases should be allocated. Changes could mean additional revenues locally to support services. Finally, as projections indicate that a 10-year measure is needed, it seems it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars to do multiple ballot measures to achieve the same 10-year support.

How can I trust the Town will use the money the way it says it will?

The Town has a proven track record from Measure C of properly accounting for every penny received and spent. The citizen oversight committee, established by the same local law proposing the sales tax (Ordinance no. 545), will continue to review the spending of tax revenue. Read More...

The committee consists of a nine-member board of residents and business owners of the Town of Paradise.  The purpose of the committee is to provide independent recommendations and assist in monitoring and reporting of spending of tax monies.  The committee meets at least quarterly as well as at budget preparation time with the Town Manager and Finance Director to ensure that the funds are appropriately allocated.  All of their meetings are open to the public and the quarterly and yearly budget reports from the committee are published on the Town website.

How is the Town managing its finances responsibly now?

With the help of Measure C, the Town has come a long way in righting its financial ship. It has built a small cash flow reserve to lessen the amount it borrows annually to sustain operations between property tax receipts. Read More...

This is not a “budget surplus”, but cash flow the Town uses to pay monthly expenses like utilities for buildings like the Police Department, Fire Stations and Town Hall, and payroll for employees.  Even with this cash flow reserve, the Town still must borrow money, with interest, to meet its monthly expenditure needs in between the two yearly tax revenue receipts.   The Town also remains lean with minimum staffing in all departments (21% reduction), reduced benefits, and tight spending restrictions.  

The existing balanced, but tight budget continues to provide many public services such as:

  • Police protection, law enforcement, and community outreach
  • Animal Control and Shelter services, dog licensing, rabies control, adoptions, vicious and dangerous animal investigations
  • Fire suppression, prevention, and emergency medical response
  • Building services, inspections and permits
  • Onsite septic services, inspections and permits
  • Engineering
  • Public works

What would this tax mean to my household budget and me?

Not much! Measure V is an extension of the existing tax, so there will be no increase. The average household would continue to pay between $40-$60 per year during the ten-year duration of the sales tax. Read More...

A sales tax does not overly burden Paradise residents, non-Paradise residents who use Town services, such as roads, would also contribute. On a $100 taxable purchase, this would add on only 50 cents for the shopper.  Here is an example of a family’s weekly bill with and without the measure:

What will the Town do with the money?

The primary goal is to maintain existing services provided to the community. Read More...

Currently, Measure C is funding a second police investigator, sponsoring police cadets through the police academy in order to fill vacant positions, maintaining the police K9 program, providing additional training for public safety personnel, funding a portion of the CAL FIRE personnel contract, and funding 47% of the animal control services budget. This would account for about half of the projected revenue.

Measure V will not be able to address all of the Town’s challenges, but will allow it to respond to some of the most critical public safety issues facing the community. In addition, to the continuing support described above, following are some of the items that would be considered by the Oversight Committee and Town Council:

  • AB109 Officer – Through a grant approved by local police chiefs, an additional officer was funded for a couple years to specifically address the challenges created by Realignment AB 109, the early release of prisoners and reclassification of less serious felonies. Maintaining this position is important to combat the effects to the community of this new reality.
  • School Resource Officer – Prior to the recession, the school district and Town partnered on the funding for a school resource officer. A partnership could be renewed which would allow an officer to be dedicated to the safety and welfare of the children in the community.
  • Police Patrol Vehicles – Measure C will allow the Town to replace 15 police patrol vehicles. To continue that trend of regular replacement allows the officers an important tool for emergency response, and keeps repair and maintenance costs in check.
  • Animal Shelter Improvements – The Town would like to address the issue of cats and dogs being held in very close proximity as well as some other sanitation issues.
  • Grant Matching Funds – Most federal and state grants for road and infrastructure improvements come with requirements for some local funding contributions. The Town’s current Capital Improvement Plan includes improvements of $22.5 million with $19.6 million funded from Federal and State sources and $2.9 million funded locally.
  • Road Improvements – Town roads are deteriorating and funding received to repair and maintain them is far less than needed. The Town has 100 miles of public roads to maintain and maintenance is very expensive. Preventative Maintenance is $20,000 a mile and an overlay runs $300,000 a mile. The Town would need $32 million alone to bring all roads to ideal conditions. The Town continues to scrape together funding wherever possible for road improvements.
  • Fire Department Access between Station 35 and Skyway – About 1/3 of the fire department calls for service in Paradise are run out of Station 35 near Cypress Curve. Response times could be improved by developing a road from station 35 to Skyway (restricted to Public Safety).
  • Fire Engine Replacement – Measure C has allowed the Town to replace two first response fire engines. Fire engines should be replaced every 10 – 15 years. Our newest reserve Engine is already 10 years old. It would be prudent for the Town to replace one more engine within the next 10 years.
  • Pentz/Pearson Fire Station Development - The Town owns property at the corner of Pentz and Pearson that would be the ideal second station for fire and emergency response. The Town could start the process of developing that location by demolishing the existing structure and drawing up plans for a new station.

How much additional funding would a 1/2 percent tax generate for the Town?

A ½ percent transaction and use tax would continue to raise about $1.4 million per year. All funds generated by the local tax would be locally controlled and would stay in the Town of Paradise to provide essential public services.  By law, the State could not take this funding away.

What happened to Measure N (Animal Control Parcel Tax) funds?

Measure N is a parcel tax of $1 per month per parcel in the Town of Paradise that is dedicated to Animal Control Services. The tax measure was passed in 2004 to supplement funding to Animal Control. 100% of the funding from Measure N still goes directly to the Animal Control fund to pay the expenses associated with providing the services. At a flat set rate the parcel tax coupled with service fees is not enough to sustain services. Read More...

During the most difficult years of the recession, the Town was forced to eliminate general fund contributions to all other funds (including streets, building safety and animal control) in order to provide adequate funding for public safety. Measure C has allowed the Town to start rebuilding the division. Measure C Currently funds 47% of the Animal Control budget.  

Why should I pay more taxes when government employees make so much money?

The people employed by the Town provide the services for residents. Without employees, there are no services.  Compared to other cities and governmental agencies that we compete with directly for qualified employees (City of Chico, City of Oroville, Butte County, etc), our pay and benefits are significantly lower. Read More...

While this has helped the balance sheet, it has made attracting employees, especially experienced Police Department candidates very difficult in this area.  When certain professions experience supply and demand peaks, such as is currently the case with the position of Police Officer, this puts the Town of Paradise at a disadvantage in attracting qualified candidates.

All salary information is available to the public through the Town of Paradise website under the Finance page or at Town Hall. Each year the Town posts an annual compensation report and the annual Fiscal Year Budget with the current salary pay plan. You can click pdf here (2.09 MB) to view the salary pages of the 2018/19 fiscal year budget.

What happens if Measure V does not pass?

The Town of Paradise is committed to balancing its budget each year. If Measure V does not pass, balancing the budget will require cuts to existing services including public safety services. Functions currently supported by Measure C, like the 2nd investigating officer, police cadet sponsorship, K9 program support, public safety training, CAL FIRE personnel contract and Animal Control will likely be impacted.