Ballot Measure FAQs
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What ballot initiatives are Banning residents being asked to vote on?
Banning residents will have three propositions before them in the November 6, 2018, election. Theyare Measures P, N, and O, which are explained below.
What is Measure P?
Measure P seeks to freeze Banning electric rates for three years and allow the City to transfer alimited amount of money each year from the utility’s surplus reserves to the General Fund to beused for public safety and other essential City services. The transfer would not exceed 7.5 percentof the utility’s annual gross revenues for the first three years, then 5.5 percent thereafter. Thismeasure would generate $2.3 million to pay for police and fire services, community programs andmaintenance. All of the money would stay in Banning.
What is Measure O?
Measure O proposes a tax on the operators of retail cannabis businesses, starting at 10 percent ofgross receipts, with an option to increase the tax to 15 percent in the future. Measure O would allowthe City Council to permit a limited number of retail cannabis stores in areas zoned for commercialuse and impose safety requirements. It would bring up to $1.5 million for the General Fund to usefor City services.
What is Measure N?
Measure N would tax commercial businesses that cultivate, manufacture and test cannabis. Ifpassed, strict regulations approved by the City Council would restrict growing to inside warehousesin the industrial zone, add code enforcement officers and address security and odor concerns. Thistax would generate up to $1.2 million per year that could be used to fund police, fire, paramedics,parks, youth and senior programs, and other services.
If Measures O and N pass, would the location of cannabis operations be restricted?
Yes. Commercial businesses would be limited to the City’s industrial zone and retail stores to thecommercial zone. The operations would be located away from residential neighborhoods, schools,day care centers, youth centers and parks.
How will these measures impact me financially?
These measures will not directly affect residents except by freezing electric rates under Measure P.If passed, they will provide the General Fund revenue to help maintain City services at the currentlevel.
Why are these measures needed?
The City of Banning is facing a $2 million budget shortfall this year. Without added revenue, the Citywill have to lay off employees and drastically cut vital services, which would negatively impactpublic safety, fire protection, the senior center, after-school child care, the library, maintenance ofstreets and parks, and other services.
Why does the City have a budget deficit?
The City experienced unanticipated increases in expenses this year, including: a $500,000 jump inthe Fire Services contract; pre-funded costs of $500,000 for the California Public Employees’Retirement System; a $50,000 increase in the Animal Control contract; and the expiration of anagreement with Riverside County to fund four police officers, worth $450,000.Banning does not have enough in reserves to cover costs until revenue is received from anticipateddevelopment. At the rate of scheduled increases from CalPERS alone, the City’s reserves willbe depleted in four years without additional income.
Will my electric rates or taxes increase under these measures?
No. Under Measure P, your electric rates will remain the same through 2021, unless there is anextreme financial emergency. After that, any changes to rates would have to be approved by theCity Council. Taxes from the cannabis operations would be paid by the businesses, not residents.
How will the funds be managed?
The money from Measure P would be strictly monitored by an independent oversight committee toensure fiscal responsibility, and subject to mandatory audits and annual public reports. Taxes fromMeasures O and N would go into the General Fund, which is open to public review.
How long will these measures last?
If Measure P is approved, it will last for 3 years and can only be extended with another vote ofresidents. The taxes on cannabis operations would continue until repealed by voters.
When is voting on Measures P, O and N?
These measures will be on the November 6, 2018, ballot. Absentee ballots for this election will bemailed the week of October 8th.
What if the measures don’t pass?
Without the additional revenue from these propositions, the City may be required to reduce currentservice levels.