This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Marin County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Measure L
Adoption of Special Municipal Services Tax
Town of Fairfax

Municipal Services Tax - 2/3 Approval Required

2525 / 57.05% Yes votes ...... 1901 / 42.95% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 24 10:10am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (6/6)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall an ordinance be adopted approving the adoptionpecial municipal services tax uponential property to a maximum rate ofone hundred twenty-five dollars for each dwelling unit andupon improved business property to a maximum rate of onehundred twenty-five dollars for each business occupancy andspecifying that all proceeds of the special municipal servicestax shall be paid into the general fund to be used exclusivelyfor the specific purposes of public safety, including police,fire, emergency medical and public works which includeshazard/safety improvements to our public streets andsidewalks?

Impartial Analysis from JOSEPH J. BRECHER, Town Attorney
This measure, if passed by two-thirds (2/3) of the voters, would addSections 3.20.080 and 3.20.090 to the Fairfax Town Code, imposing aspecial tax at a maximum rate of one hundred twenty-five dollars($125.00) on each improved residential and business parcel within theboundaries of the town of Fairfax for a period of five (5) years. Themeasure requires that the revenue from the tax be used exclusively forthe specific purposes of public safety, including police, fire, emergencymedical and public works which includes hazard/safety improvements topublic streets and sidewalks.

The remaining sections of Chapter 3.20 of the Fairfax Town Code shallremain unchanged.

A "YES" vote would be a vote to impose the tax, subject to the conditionsand restrictions stated above.

A "NO" vote would be a vote to not impose the tax.

Suggest a link related to Measure L
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Measure L Arguments Against Measure L
Fairfax faces a fiscal crisis in the wake of our state leaders' mismanagement of California's budget. As usual, the state government has lived above its means, and again they have bailed themselves out on the backs of the local governments.

Over the past decade Sacramento has taken over $2,700,000 from Fairfax.

We are asking our residents to pass Measure L, a five year, $125 per year special tax, so that we can recover some of these diverted property tax funds.

Measure L will allow us to maintain our excellent fire, emergency medical and police services and to continue to make emergency and safety repairs to our roads and sidewalks.

The fact is, our great successes in:

  • vastly improving our Caltrans road rating,
  • adding paramedic firefighters to our fire station, and
  • professionalizing our police department

are at great risk if we cannot replace some of the revenues Sacramento has taken from us.

None of us asked the Public Retirement System to invest unwisely in Enron and PG&E. When those investments turned sour, the losses were passed on to us in spiraling pension costs.

None of us asked the State to squander California's multi-billion dollar surplus on irresponsible energy contracts. When they did, the state government reached into our coffers to make up the difference. They, in effect, squandered our budget surplus too - a surplus that we worked so hard to build and maintain.

Fairfax can simply accept lower quality services from its local government and a lower quality of life, OR we can decide that it is worth $10.42 per month to maintain and improve the community we have worked so hard to build.

Stand up for Fairfax. Please vote YES on Measure L.

s/ Frank Egger, Mayor of Fairfax

s/ Lewis E. Tremaine III, Vice-Mayor of Fairfax

s/ Trudy Totty, Fairfax Volunteer Coordinator

s/ Susan A. Brandborg, Council Member

s/ Larry Bragman, Council Member

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Proponents fail to mention that your rising property tax bill allowed the town budget to inflate 60% in the last 8 years from 3 million to almost 5million. They fail to mention that they have not come up with one idea to save our town money.

One day after this tax measure was submitted for the ballot the council increased fees, which you cannot vote on, raising almost $200,000 a year. That same night they designated $30,000 dollars for our new Open Space fund rather than using it to decrease the deficit. They are asking you to vote for a tax that will raise $460,000 a year for five years and at the same time raise almost half of that amount on an ongoing basis. How long will this "fiscal crisis" last and how much do they actually need?

Every business and household in Fairfax has to live within its means. Our town needs to do the same. As a business owner in town for 26years I can tell you that, in Fairfax, you have to think small + watch and stretch every dollar. Our government needs to financially reflect our community. The overspending will not stop until taxpayers say no more.

We should not assume that our Fairfax neighbors can afford to pay more taxes. Seniors struggle to make ends meet, young families are financially challenged, newer property owners pay extremely high taxes and everyone pays 12 additional taxes on their bills already.

NO on Measure L.

s/ Mike Ghiringhelli

Fairfax does not have a money crisis, it has a money management crisis.Eight years ago our budget was 3 million dollars and today it is almost 5million dollars. How many Fairfax residents and businesses have had a60% increase in revenues and expenditures over the same time period?

Currently Fairfax property owners have 12 special taxes on their propertytax bills, more than any other Marin community. Fairfax residents alreadypay a "special" paramedic tax, pension tax, Measure K, run-off tax, and ageneral services tax.

There are many ways to manage our funds better. We could consolidateor contract out services with neighboring towns. Our fire departmentalready has a successful shared service with San Anselmo. Our policedepartment does not and represents 40% of our town's budget ($2million). We could save up to $750,000 if we work with our neighbor. Thedifference between the police department and fire department budgetshas doubled to 16% over the years since the fire consolidation. Incontrast, San Anselmo's budget difference between the two departmentsis just 2%. There is strength and savings in numbers.

This small Ross Valley community cannot afford two dispatch centers,two chiefs of police and two police stations. San Anselmo's PoliceDepartment serves 5000 more residents than Fairfax for only $650,000more in cost.

This is just one area where we could save. If we had managed our townbetter, we could have saved millions of dollars over the years with jointefforts with other towns, money that could have been used to improvesidewalks, roads, and infrastructure. Do not believe the scare tactics!

Taxpayers unite and send the council a message to run the town with the revenues we have. Say NO to Measure L.

s/ Mike Ghiringhelli, Council Member

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Nearly all taxpayers in Marin County cities pay about 12 special taxes.Only five of the special taxes on Fairfax tax bills are collected by thetown. Most were approved by voters and only one has increased sincethe voter's original approval. Recently the town increased some fees tocover the actual cost of doing business. That doesn't sound like moneymismanagement to us.

Measure L is a temporary $125 annual tax. It goes into effect in 2005and automatically ends in 2010.

Opponents say San Anselmo police serve 5000 more residents for only$650,000 more. They need to read San Anselmo's budget more closely.They budget differently by not including emergency radio or grantmonies in their police budget.

Using identical budgeting procedures their budget would be closer to$3,000,000-$1,131,000 more than Fairfax.

The notice that Fairfax residents give up their 24/7 police service isunacceptable. Police-Town Hall services are currently available 168hours a week. Under the opponent's plan, those hours would bereduced to 38 1/2 per week. The rest of the time doors would be locked,our police station closed.

San Anselmo's Council refuses to even discuss CouncilmemberGhiringhelli's police consolidation/contract idea.

Do Fairfax residents really want to travel to San Anselmo to conductpolice business or take up police complaints with SAN ANSELMOCouncil?

Isn't it worth $10.42/month to keep Fairfax's police and fire stations open24/7 and to keep our roads and sidewalks safe? Fairfax is a veryspecial place!


YES On Measure L.

s/ Pamela Meigs
Registered Nurse

s/ Mary Jo Rice

Executive Director Seaflow

s/ Ed Kelly
Town Treasurer

s/ Trudy Totty

Fairfax Volunteer Coordinator

s/ Rudolph (Rudy) A. Contratti

Maintenance Worker I (Parks)

Full Text of Measure L


SECTION 1. ADDITIONS TO CODE. Sections 3.20.080, "Special Municipal Services Tax Imposed -- Rate," and 3.20.090, "Deposit and Use of Funds from Special Municipal Services Tax" are added to Chapter 3.30 of the Fairfax Town Code as follows:

3.20.080 Special Services Tax Imposed - Rate. A special municipal services tax not exceeding the maximum amounts set forth in this section is imposed on all improved real property within the boundaries of the town of Fairfax for a period of five (5) years:

A. A special municipal services tax is levied and imposed upon improved residential property at a maximum rate of one hundred twenty five dollars per dwelling unit for five (5) years. As used herein the term "dwelling unit" means any building or portion thereof used and/or designed as a separate dwelling accommodation, with cooking, living and sleeping facilities.

B. A special municipal services tax is levied and imposed upon improved business property at a maximum rate of one hundred twenty-five dollars for each business occupancy for five (5)years. As used herein, the term "business occupancy" means any portion of a building or structure or other improved real property which is occupied or designed to be occupied by a separate business establishment required to be licensed as such pursuant to Title 5 of this code.

3.20.090 Deposit and use of funds from Special Municipal Services Tax. All proceeds of the special municipal services tax levied and imposed under Section 3.20.080 of this chapter shall be paid into the general fund to be used exclusively for the specific purposes of public safety, including police, fire, emergency medical and public works which includes hazard/safety improvements to our public streets and sidewalks.

SECTION 2. REMAINING SECTIONS OF CHAPTER 3.20UNCHANGED. The remaining sections of Chapter 3.20 of the Faiirfax Town Code shall remain unchanged.

SECTION 3. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Ordinance relates to the levying and collecting of the Town special municipal services tax and shall be in full force and effect ten (10) days after the certification by the Town Council of the election returns indicating passage of two-thirds of the voters casting votes in the election.

SECTION 4. SEVERABILITY. If any section, subsection, subdivision, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this Ordinance, is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance. The People of the Town of Fairfax hereby declare that they would have adopted this Ordinance, and each section, subsection, subdivision, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections,subsections, subdivisions, sentences, clauses, phrases, or portions thereof to be declared invalid or unconstitutional.

SECTION 5. PUBLIC NOTICE. Copies of the foregoing ordinance shall within fifteen (15) days after its final passage and adoption be posted in three public places in the Town of Fairfax, to wit:

(a) Bulletin Board, Fairfax Town Offices, Town Hall
(b) Bulletin Board, Fairfax Post Office; and
(c) Bulletin Board, Fairfax Women's Club Building

Which said places are hereby designated for that purpose.

The foregoing Ordinance was approved by the voters of the Town of Fairfax at a special election held on the 2nd day of November, 2004, by the following tally:



Marin Home Page || Statewide Links || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: December 15, 2004 13:31 PST
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.