Public safety is Visalia's number one priority. But with over 70% of the General Fund going to these vital services, we still can't keep up with the demand for police and fire services.
With public input and the recommendations from the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) and the Ballot Measure Advisory Committee (BMAC), there could be hope on the horizon.
City staff are scheduling community group presentations and are looking to connect with citizens to ask, should a ½ cent sales tax to maintain essential services for our City be on the November ballot?
Schedule a City Staff Member to Present to Your Group
City of Visalia staff are currently meeting with local service clubs, organizations, businesses and groups to discuss a 1/2 cent sales tax to maintain essential services in Visalia. Presentations are approximately 10 minutes in length and are accompanied by time for a Q&A, as well as an interactive feature to poll the group.
To schedule an Essential Services presentation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Allison Lambert, City of Visalia Communications Manager at 713-4535.
Citizen Committee Findings
From August 2015 to January 2016, two citizen committees studied the issues at hand. Their major findings were:
Public Safety: Soaring demand for services, but Measure T annual sales tax receipts are $1.1 million less than projections from 10 years ago. Currently, Police and Fire are unable to meet adequate staffing and facilities demand to maintain the expected "quality of life" targets.
Public Works/Road Conditions: At current recession level funding, in 20 years street services will have deteriorated to the point that it would require $23 million annually to recover
Parks & Recreation Services: Current staffing budget is insufficient to maintain parks at the same quality that has been traditionally expected in Visalia.
CalPers State-Managed Retirement Fund: System has overpromised and underdelivered on investment results. Visalia, like every other public agency in the state, is being required to increase funding for future pension obligations.
Overall Staffing: Pre-recession, Visalia had 5.7 employees per 1,000 people. Today, there are 4.8 employees per 1,000 people.
Comparing Revenue Sources: Visalia does not have a utility tax, but does have a local .25% Public Safety (Measure T) sales tax.
Nearby Cities: The nearby cities of Tulare, Dinuba, Porterville and Lindsay all have local 6% or 7% utility taxes plus local sales tax overrides of .5% or .75%.