UPDATE: In an effort to maintain voter confidence and keep the city’s promise to voters, Measure M money will not be touched for park maintenance. “We need to find [those] 500,000 dollars from somewhere else and not take it from Measure M.” Vice Mayor Holman, Mayor Tubbs, and the city council agreed on Monday, December 4th, 2017.
Last election, Stockton voters passed Measure M to fund Library and Recreation services. The City of Stockton administration is now proposing that Measure M funds be diverted for landscape maintenance and janitorial services.
This proposal to divert over $500,000 in funds from its original purpose to the landscape and janitorial contract will be on the City Council agenda on Monday, Dec. 4th, at 5:30 pm.
A group of community members worked with dozens of volunteers to pass Measure M on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot. The measure is designed to restore and expand library and recreation services in Stockton that were devastated during Stockton’s bankruptcy through a dedicated ¼ cent sales tax. Measure M was passed by 76% of Stockton voters who went to the polls.
The “Yes on M” campaign was passed with overwhelming support.
Here’s some quick facts about why Measure M was needed:
- Stockton San Joaquin County Library System spends $15 per resident on library service: The State average is $40 per resident.
- Stockton San Joaquin County Library System averages 0.25 square feet per resident; the state average is 0.72.
- Stockton ranks 64 out of 75 largest metropolitan areas in the United States for its parks and recreation services.
- Stockton has 0.4 community centers per 20,000 residents; the national average is 0.84.
- Stockton has a growing population, lack of public facilities, low literacy rates, high obesity rates, and public safety concerns.
In addition, research has shown a strong correlation between library and recreation services and reduced crime.
A flyer sent to Stocktonians by the City of Stockton that outlines what the measure would accomplish in more specific detail.
On Monday, the City Council will consider a proposal to use $530,000 in Measure M funds (referred to by the City as “Community Services Funds”) for landscape maintenance and janitorial services. $500,000 of this would be an ongoing cost for up to seven years. According to the City’s staff report (pp. 97-103), if this money is used for landscape and janitorial maintenance, it would “preclude the development of the proposed multi-use Sports Complex,” a key element of the Measure M plan. It was not the intention of Measure M to cover landscape maintenance and janitorial costs.
Stockton residents who are concerned about this diversion of funds away from library and recreation services should contact their council member or the Mayor, or attend Monday’s City Council meeting Monday at 5:30pm to express their concerns.
Lets keep our promise to voters.
Cover image courtesy of Dana Al-Hindi
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Placeholder Magazine.