At one point not too long ago, Marysville’s finances were at a near crisis management level. A few years into a one-cent sales tax increase and the situation is much different, according to the most recent report outlining how Measure C fared in Fiscal Year 2017/18.
“We were at the edge of not being able to afford certain services that are funded by the General Fund – for services like the police department, fire department and public works. Liabilities were also eating up the general fund,” said Mayor Ricky Samayoa. “Now, with Measure C, the city’s finances have definitely stabilized.”
Measure C was passed by city voters in June 2016 and established a 1 cent sales tax increase for general municipal purposes, including fire safety, police protection, emergency responses services, traffic safety, streets and sidewalks repair, park improvements and maintenance, reducing debt and rebuilding financial services.
The city began collecting the sales tax increase in October 2016. The measure also requires the city publish a report annually as to how much tax revenue was received and how it was used.
Samayoa said because of the increase in available funds, the city’s credit rating increased, allowing it to refinance some of its debt, which in turn resulted in roughly $12.5 million in savings. It allowed the city to increase its level of services in public safety and public works, and it has provided the funding necessary to address some of Marysville’s infrastructure issues, he said.
“It has also allowed us more capacity to go after more grant funding by leveraging those dollars,” he said.
In its first full year (Fiscal Year 2017/18), Measure C generated $2,674,433 for the city of Marysville. Of those funds, the city spent $1,222,889 on a number of projects.
The largest expenses went toward three new firefighter positions ($290,146), maintenance of city streets ($289,769), the replacement of police vehicles ($185,523), two new patrol officer positions ($176,939), and the reopening of City Hall to five days a week ($174,477).
Other expenses included a new Support Services manager position for the police department ($53,416), a revamp of the city’s website ($22,949), the development of a Parks and Open Space Master Plan ($20,742), and new finance software ($8,928).
The remaining $1,451,544 generated from Measure C in FY 2017/18 went toward strengthening the city’s General Fund reserves and cash flow.
Since it was first established, the sales tax increase has bolstered the city’s reserves and cash flow by approximately 21 percent. To put it in perspective, City Manager Marti Brown said, the city’s reserves and cash flow made up about 4 percent of Marysville’s general fund prior to Measure C passing. According to the most recent figures, the city’s cash flow and reserves now make up about 23 percent of the city’s general fund.
In order to gather the information obtained in the report, the city needed to first complete its financial audit for FY 2017/18, which was approved last August. The city expects to complete its audit for FY 2018/19 within the next month or so and will follow that up with another Measure C annual report for that year shortly after, Brown said.
“(Measure C) has made all the difference in being able to provide full-time services again in Marysville,” Brown said. “Those things make a huge difference in bringing the city back to the level it needs to be functioning adequately for our residents.”
Measure C is set to expire on Oct. 31, 2026.