Updated: Jan 19
In 2018 Sacramento voted to increase the Measure U sales tax to a full cent, to restore essential city services that were cut back since 2008, including fire, police, parks and libraries. While the Sacramento City council has final say over where the Measure U money is invested, there is a community committee that gives their input.
The Measure U Committee made the following seven recommendations for the mid-year budget: 1. One-Time vs Ongoing Funding: The city has benefited from a recent influx in one-time federal and state funds. We encourage the Council to consider spending one-time Federal/State funds in complementary ways that will enhance the impact of ongoing long-term investments from Measure U; we oppose the use of one-time funds to supplant expenditures intended to be funded by Measure U.
2. Affordable Housing: The current Affordable Housing expenditures for Measure U are
overwhelmingly dedicated to city staff infrastructure. We support adequate staffing and the functions carried out by the identified staff as critical components of addressing the City’s continuing affordable housing crisis. However, we recommend that mid-year surplus funding be spent on direct financial investments to support Sacramento residents in maintaining housing through mortgage and rental assistance and, where possible and needed, additional gap funding for new affordable housing developments.
3. Homelessness: We are pleased that the current Homelessness expenditures for Measure U are overwhelmingly dedicated to fund direct programs and services responsible for moving individuals and families into more stable environments, addressing barriers, and moving people from homelessness to housing. We recommend that mid-year surplus funding be spent to
1) add to the current $2.8 million Homeless Housing Initiatives allocation to expand service provision beyond women and children under 14 to include older children, people of other genders, and veterans
2) add to the current $3 million allocation to Respite Centers to expand the availability of shelter for inclement weather and Safe Ground sites.
In addition, directly funding the development of permanent supportive housing including through Project Homekey and transitional housing is critical to the success of the City’s efforts to end homelessness.
4. Senior Services: We have a growing elderly population in Sacramento with unique needs that the city should identify and support. The current Measure U expenditures include $2.2 million for Older Adult Services. We recommend that mid-year surplus funding be spent to expand the service hours, geographic availability, and language access.
5. Youth: We are pleased that $26.9 million from Measure U has been invested in youth. The Committee recommends that the Council continue to prioritize investing in programs and services for youth, provided by the City and in partnership with community-based organizations, to ensure community well-being. We recommend that mid-year surplus funding be spent to expand programming for youth K-12, youth under 24, culturally relevant services for Native and Hmong youth, and to support a protected and earmarked city fund for children and youth.
6. Branding Measure U Funding: The Committee recommends that the City brand Measure U investments in the city by directing staff to develop a logo, identify sign placement and assess printing and installation costs.
7. Mapping Place-based Investments: It is the Measure U Committee’s understanding that no comprehensive resource (e.g., map, database, etc.) exists within the City that details the City’s investments across departments and programs at a neighborhood level. The Committee believes that such a resource would be integral to supporting equity within the participatory budgeting process, so that participants can make informed decisions when proposing project ideas to be funded through the process. The Committee recommends that the City develop a tool that outlines the City’s past, current, and future place-based investments, projects, and plans at a neighborhood level.
The Measure U committee is volunteer based, and only has the authority to make suggestions. One public caller expressed his frustration with not being able to track where exactly Measure U dollars are going. Mayor Steinberg didn’t like his tone, and decided to come out of responding to public comment retirement, to say the comment was simply untrue, and to ask the caller to give him a “break.”