The Walnut Creek City Council last week unanimously endorsed Measure O, a November ballot measure seeking a 10-year, half-cent sales tax increase to fund "current and future quality of life needs."
The council unanimously approved putting Measure O on the Nov. 8 ballot on July 19. If passed, the city expects the sales tax to raise about $11 million annually, depending on the economy.
The city has discussed its aging recreation facilities and other infrastructure needs for more than two years, with the city engaging residents on how to prioritize projects.
The city has engaged in a community listening initiative involving stakeholder meetings, a mailed survey to more than 30,000 Walnut Creek residents, and an online survey to better understand what the community needs in the future.
"Walnut Creek has never had a city sales tax before, and this would help improve areas that residents have identified as priorities for what they'd like to see in Walnut Creek," Councilmember Kevin Wilk said Wednesday. "This includes public safety, emergency preparedness, homelessness intervention, additional library hours, infrastructure and more. This will help to continue the quality of life that Walnut Creek is known for."
A report for last Tuesday's meeting said many of the facilities necessary for city recreation programs "are several decades old and nearing the end of their useful lifespans after constant use by tens of thousands of individuals and families."
Measure O would prioritize "maintaining neighborhood and downtown police patrols, crime prevention programs, 911 emergency response, emergency/disaster preparedness, increasing pedestrian safety, and ensuring consistent crossing guards on school routes."
It would also address homelessness, maintain senior services and programs, art programs, and after-school programs for children and teens, including additional library hours and access to books/technology.
Measure O would support "small businesses and economic recovery, downtown improvements and attracting new businesses, jobs, and economic activity; investing in sustainability initiatives and parks and open space, including creeks and watersheds."
The measure would also replace the city's aging Clarke Memorial Swim Center and Community Center at Heather Farm Park and improve other aging city facilities.