Preserving Essential City Services
Preserving Essential City Services
Due to the expiration of local voter-approved measures and the impact of COVID-19 on sales tax, hotel tax, fees, and other revenue sources, Union City is facing significant revenue loss over the next four years. Without any new revenue sources, the City will need to permanently cut approximately $11 million over the next four years, which represents about 17% of Union City's current General Fund operating budget.
What Do these Budget Cuts Look Like?
If the City Council has to consider making approximately $11 million in budget cuts, this would result in the following city service impacts:
- Closure of community centers and drastic reductions in recreation programming.
- Inability to repair potholes and maintain streets.
- Inability to keep parks clean and free of graffiti and blight.
- Drastic reductions in public safety, including lack of ability to respond to quality of life issues (such as homelessness and animal control) and, 24-hour brown outs of fire stations;
- Elimination of youth violence prevention and drug and gang intervention programs.
Significant Budget Cuts Already Carried Out
Significant cuts have been made prior to and in response to COVID-19, including closing an underutilized fire station, freezing all vacant positions, reducing library hours, eliminating community policing and school resource officers, and using city reserves to help fund gaps. In total, the City has reduced services by millions of dollars in the last couple of years. Solving an additional projected $11 million budget gap would require significant reductions in addition to drastic service reductions that have already taken place.
About Measure WW (Utility Users' Tax)
With input from the public, the City Council has placed Measure WW - a temporary utility users' tax - on the November 3, 2020 ballot. The proposed 5% utility users' tax would be levied on electricity, gas, video, and telecommunication services. This measure would provide about $6.1 million in additional funding that can help to preserve essential city services.
Seniors and low-income residents are eligible to receive an exemption from the tax.
There are three ways to find out if you are eligible for exemption:
PG&E's CARE Program
Residential service users that participate in the PG&E California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE) program, which is a monthly discount of 20% or more on gas and electricity, are eligible for an exemption from the proposed utility users’ tax. Participants qualify through income guidelines or if enrolled in certain public assistance programs, such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), CalFresh/SNAP (Food Stamps) and Medicaid/Medi-Cal. To apply, simply call a PG&E representative or go to PG&E’s website for more information.
Low Income Status as Determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development
Households with a household income of less than 50% of the area median family income for the County of Alameda, as established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), are eligible for an exemption from the proposed utility users’ tax. As determined by HUD for 2020, here are the gross income levels that may make you eligible for an exemption:
|Persons in Household||Annual Gross Income (below 50% of median area family income)|
***These numbers are subject to chage.
Residential service users that are seventy years of age or older (if such service user resides alone or with a spouse or registered domestic partner and at least one spouse or partner is seventy years of age or older) are eligible for an exemption from the proposed utility users’ tax. There is no income criteria for this exemption.
Local control and accountability
Revenue generated from a utility users' tax would include fiscal safeguards. All funds are spent locally to support essential city services and cannot be taken away by the State. Businesses will pay their fair share so residents do not have to shoulder the burden.
About local funds from Measure WW
Measure WW would generate about $6.1 million in new revenue to the City and would help us to preserve essential services, such as:
- Maintaining paramedic and fire protection services, 9-1-1 emergency response and emergency and disaster preparedness programs, including for a public health crisis
- Ensuring senior citizens receive support and access to food during the COVID-19 crisis and during the recovery
- Maintaining parks and streets
- Preserving youth violence prevention and drug and gang intervention programs to keep kids off the street and maintain community safety
- Measure WW Fact Sheet
- Citywide Mailer - Mailed out the second week of August
- Second Citywide Mailer - Mailed out the first week of September
- Third Citywide Mailer - Mailed out late September
- Fourth Citywide Mailer - Mailed out early October
- Community Presentation
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Press Release: Union City Weighs Options to Solve a $10.5 Million Budget Gap
- City Council Holds Budget Study Session to Learn about COVID-19 Impacts on City Finances
- City Council Unanimously Votes to Place Measure WW on November General Election Ballot
Schedule a Presentation
If you would like to schedule a presentation for your neighborhood on Measure WW, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alignment with the City's Strategic Plan
Goal A: Foster fiscal health through disciplined long-term planning, cost control, heightened efficiency, increased revenue and cost recovery.