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What's going on with Measure U?

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Thank you to Franny Dewey, one of our awesome Sacramento State interns, for taking notes on this item! Learn more about Franny here!


UPDATE - April 2022

"This year, the City of Sacramento is launching its first ever Participatory Budgeting process - a process that gives community members like you the power to propose ideas for how to spend a portion of the City's budget, develop a handful of high priority project ideas into proposals, and vote for your favorite ones!

For this pilot process the City has set aside $1,000,000 in Measure U funds to be spent by residents. The City's Measure U Committee - which is overseeing implementation for this first participatory budgeting cycle - has decided to focus the process in two areas of the City (see maps below). The $1,000,000 will be split into two $500,000 pots, one for each area to fund winning projects. All Sacramento residents can propose an idea for how the funds should be spent, but projects will have to be implemented in one of the two focus areas, and residents of those neighborhoods will vote to decide which to fund."

*idea collection ends May 22nd


This article is report back from the Measure U Committee (meeting page linked here) meeting on 1/31/22

If U need a refresher on this committee:

The Measure U Advisory Committee is the oversight body for the 1cent sales & use tax levied on all purchases related to the City of Sacramento. The funds generated from this tax is supposed to be used to “restore essential City services that had been cut or scaled back since 2008, including those provided by Sacramento fire, police, parks and libraries.” Measure U is a general tax, and the revenue it produces goes in the City’s General Fund and can be used for any municipal purpose. Mayor Darrell Steinberg and members of the Sacramento City Council have said new Measure U funds could be used to build and bolster an inclusive economy, grow jobs and provide housing that is affordable to all. The Measure U tax was originally a ½-cent sales tax when first approved in 2012 and was increased to a full cent in 2019, which currently generates on average $100 million per year.

Fun fact: nearly half of the funds generated by the Measure U sales tax have gone to the Sacramento Police Department since its implementation.

What was being discussed?

SJPC was interested in items 2 & 3 which were related to the Committee approving its Draft Participatory Budget (PB) Playbook.

What happened?

Item #2 Measure U Finalizing PB playbook

The PB process will include the following phases:

(1) Design the Process: create Playbook

(2) Brainstorm Ideas: all resident of Sacramento that are 14 yrs + can contribute

(3) Proposal development: Anyone 14+ who lives, works, or attends school, or guardian of someone in school can serve as proposal delegate

(4) Voting on proposals:

only residence 14 yrs + of the target neighborhoods

(5) Project implementation & management: within the designated neighborhoods.

The Measure U Ad Hoc PB Committee will review all potential Measure U initiatives with an equity lens with the goal of reducing historic racial, social, health and economic disparities identifying and eliminating barriers that have prevented full participation of some groups and promoting fair and just treatment, access, opportunities, and advancement for all people

Participatory Budgeting starts from equity.

This committee takes inspiration from the Philadelphia model (link to Philly's City PB page).

Language from the playbook:

"The Measure U Ad Hoc PB Committee elected to ensure the process is equitable and focused on allocating resources to those communities that have historically received little to no investment while remaining an inclusive and participatory process."

To achieve this goal the Committee will implement geographic based voting through neighborhood clusters. What two areas & how they were chosen?

  • Using Sacramento Community Vulnerability Index and CA Healthy Places Index, in combination with areas of historically low investments

  • Committee wants to evaluate measurable impacts in order to maximize efficacy of funding

  • North East Sac & South East Sac – each get $500K

Was there a vote?

The vote to approve the Measure U PB Playbook passed. The Participatory Budgeting Pilot will move into its next step to allow the Old North Sac and South Sac neighborhoods to decide how they want to invest in themselves.

Additionally: item #3 passed - meaning the recommendations regarding fiscal year 22/23 to create an ad hoc committee to present recommendations at March Budget & Audit Committee meeting passed.

What about the cash?

No additional decision where made about money.

Why is this important to the pursuit of social justice in Sacramento?

Participatory Budging is designed to address issues around access to process of community development; putting residence of historically underserved, underrepresented at the head of the table.

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