Measure E: City of Santa Cruz district elections
Measure E will change the City of Santa Cruz’s charter to allow district elections for the Santa Cruz City Council with six districts and a directly-elected mayor. The mayor will represent the entire city for a four-year term.
Santa Cruz now has at-large elections where residents from anywhere in the city can vote for any candidate. With Measure E’s approval, the city will be divided into six geographical districts. Voters in each district would choose a council member who lives in their district.
With Measure E’s approval:
- A directly-elected mayor will represent the entire city.
- Measure E’s passage will let city voters, instead of the council, choose the mayor.
- Measure E’s passage will create a four-year mayoral term. Mayors now serve for one year.
- Measure E will create new term limits. Council members who have served for two consecutive four-year terms would still have to wait two years to become eligible to run again. However, the new rules would allow council members to run for mayor immediately after two terms as a council member.
Measure E does not increase the mayor’s power, role or salary, the city attorney and a city spokeswoman said. The mayor would have the same power to set meeting agendas. The mayor would have the same “primary but not exclusive” responsibility to interpret policies, programs and needs of city government, according to the measure.
The rules will take effect in the Nov. 8 election, since Measure E’s results were certified before a July 6 deadline.
If Measure E failed, the city would have been split into seven geographical council districts. The mayor would have represented their district and would continue to be appointed annually by a council vote. The mayor’s power and salary would remain the same.
Measure F: City of Santa Cruz sales tax hike
Measure F would have allowed the City of Santa Cruz to raise its sales tax to 9.75%. The city’s current sales tax is 9.25%. Money from the tax hike would have been added to the City of Santa Cruz’s General Fund.
Measure F was decided by voters in the City of Santa Cruz. The new tax was expected to start Oct. 1 if adopted by voters, said Santa Cruz city spokeswoman Elizabeth Smith.
Santa Cruz city leaders proposed Measure F largely because the city has a structural deficit. Its expenses are more than its revenue.
Santa Cruz’s budget problems predate the pandemic and are partly caused by rising pension and health care costs for public employees, former city finance directors have said.