Marin County Elections: San Rafael's Proposed Sales Tax Would Be Highest in County

San Anselmo and San Rafael voters will be considering increases to their sales tax rates on the November ballot.

If approved, San Rafael would have the highest sales tax in the county.
If approved, San Rafael would have the highest sales tax in the county.
Bay City News Service — Voters in Marin County are deciding on 10 measures on the November ballot, including four sales tax measures and a $394 million bond issue for new construction and improvements to Marin General Hospital.

If approved, Measure D in San Anselmo will rise the sales tax rate a half-cent for 10 years to pay for potholes, road repaving, public safety and other general town services. San Anselmo's tax rate is currently 8.5 percent. 

San Rafael's voters will be asked to not only extend the existing half-cent sales tax rate, but increase it a quarter-cent for 20 years. That would raise its tax rate to 9.25 percent — the highest in the county. City officials say the money from the rate increase will pay for maintaining rapid police and fire response times, maintaining adequate police and fire staffing and repairing city streets.

The town of Corte Madera is asking voters to approve Measure B, a half-cent sales tax increase for six years to pay for essential city services. The current tax rate is 8.5 percent. Larkspur voters will consider Measure C, a half-cent sales tax hike for five years for streets and roads, pothole repair and police and fire protection and other essential city services. The current tax rate is 8.5 percent. 

All four sales tax measures require the approval of a majority of the voters.

Hospital bond — Measure F

The Marin Healthcare District's $394 million bond Measure F requires two-thirds approval. The bonds will be used for seismic upgrades to Marin General Hospital, the county's only designated trauma center.

Voters throughout the county, excluding Novato and portions of west Marin County, will decide on the bond that aims to expand emergency and other medical facilities and reduce emergency room waiting times.

The Lagunitas Elementary School District is asking voters in San Geronimo, Lagunitas, Forest Knolls and Woodacre to approve the issuance of $5 million in bonds to modernize classrooms and libraries, renovate school facilities, enhance student access to technology and upgrade playgrounds and playing fields. Measure A requires the approval of 55 percent of the voters.

 The Kentfield Fire District's Measure G seeks a repeal of the existing fire tax of six cents per square foot and replaces it with a tax of 10 cents per square foot. The tax revenue aims to maintain rapid medical emergency response services and contribute to the District's long-term fiscal well-being. It requires two-thirds approval.

 Measure H in the Marinwood Community Services District would approve a special tax for park, street and open space maintenance services in Marinwood for the next four fiscal years. A majority approval is required for passage.

 The Mesa Park District is seeking a special $49 annual tax for four years to maintain and operate Mesa Park at 110 Mesa Road in Bolinas. Measure I requires two-thirds approval.

 Measure J is a $7 million bond measure for recreational construction and improvements in the Strawberry Recreation District. Funding would go toward new bathrooms, pool renovations, new playground features, a hillside amphitheater and improving tennis courts, athletic fields and bleacher seats, among other upgrades. It requires two-thirds approval.
Randy Warren October 20, 2013 at 09:57 AM
San Rafael's new sales tax would not merely be the highest in Marin. It would be the highest in Marin, Sonoma, and San Francisco. The tax is a "general fund" tax. This means that regardless of what is suggested as possible uses for the money, it cannot be earmarked. It merely goes into the general fund. The reality is that San Rafael has so badly mismanaged its pension disaster that we have no choice but to raise the sales tax, in hopes of getting this city off the road to bankruptcy. I voted already, and voted in favor of the tax, not because it is appropriate but because the city is going to be in dire straits without the money. I also voted for myself as a candidate for city council, so we can work on real solutions to the problems our past city councils have kicked down the road. The buck needs to stop here, or otherwise the bucks will need to keep coming.
Richard Hall October 20, 2013 at 10:39 AM
One issue is that the "ask" for the tax rise is presented in the most appealing and urgent way - "it's to help you in emergencies", but in reality it's to pay for this pensions crisis. But presenting this real reason they know it would never pass. Again this is a reason why it's time to stop voting for incumbents/more of the same. There is a well trodden path to city council. Did you notice the glossy foldout Police and Fire pamphlets encouraging you to vote for specific candidates? We have to break the cycle with fresh candidates like Randy Warren.
Patti October 21, 2013 at 01:34 PM
I voted for Randy Warren already. Before he posted this. Glad for his explanation.


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