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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Guest: Vote “yes” on Measure Q: Preserve the quality of life in Davis

Measure Q is a necessary sales tax that will support critical services and public utilities

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.

When I first arrived at the UC Davis campus in 1987 to start law school, I never imagined I would still be living here over 30 years later. But Davis turned out to be a great choice. After all, where else would I be able to ride my bike to school? And later in life, I would think, ‘Where else could I have found such an extraordinary place to live, work and raise a family?’ I am so glad that I chose to stay here. 

There are so many things that I have come to appreciate about Davis — the ability to ride my bike or walk just about anywhere, as well as the parks, public pools, bike paths, open spaces and the strong sense of community. I strongly suspect many of you have also come to enjoy the unique quality of life that our college town enjoys.

But we must take collective action to help preserve that quality of life. For this reason, I urge you to vote “yes” on Measure Q when you cast your ballot for the March 3 election. 

I know that for many participating in California’s March presidential primary election, national issues will be foremost on our minds. But if you live within the city of Davis and are registered to vote here, Measure Q is a critically important local measure that will go a long way toward maintaining the quality of life that Davis offers. 

Measure Q would continue the city’s existing 1% sales tax. Note that it is not a tax increase. Measure Q simply extends the existing tax which we last approved in 2014, and would otherwise expire at the end of 2020. This is a fair tax that is not applied to purchases of groceries of medicine.

The 1% sales tax currently generates approximately $8.6 million dollars annually. This revenue makes up nearly 16% of the city’s General Fund, which supports our police, firefighters,  bike paths, roads, parks and greenbelts, and many other services we all benefit from and appreciate. It’s also important to note that, unlike certain other taxes we pay, all revenue generated by this tax goes toward the city. 

Approval of Measure Q is essential if we want the city to maintain the services it provides.

Over the past year, I have had the privilege of serving on the city’s Finance and Budget Commission, which advises Davis on fiscal matters. This has given me the opportunity to gain a much better understanding of how hard our council members and city staff work to use our taxpayer dollars efficiently — to save money without compromising services. 

I’ve also learned more about the broad array of services the city offers. For example, I am very excited about the new daytime respite center that is being established here in town to provide support services for homeless individuals in Davis. I was especially impressed to see the compassion and engagement of UC Davis students who attended City Council meetings to advocate for this respite center. Part of the start-up funding for the homeless facility and for city staff who work in our community to address homelessness comes from the General Fund and, ultimately, the city’s sales tax, which Measure Q would renew. 

What makes Davis such a wonderful place, not only for UC Davis students, but for those who decide to stay here after graduation? I believe it is our active, engaged community, coupled with the city’s efforts to use our tax dollars to provide a high quality of life that we all appreciate. 

So, if you live in Davis and are eligible to participate in our city’s election, please register to vote. For details and deadlines, go to countyelections.org or sos.ca.gov. Then, on March 3, please vote “yes” on Measure Q. “Q” stands for the quality of life in Davis that we all enjoy, and that we must preserve.

Written by: Donna Neville 

Donna Neville is the former chief counsel of the California State Auditor and the State Board of Education and a member of the City of Davis Finance and Budget Commission.

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