Merced voters submit signatures for public safety tax renewal

While an effort to renew Measure C was shot down by the Merced City Council last year, a community group gathered more than enough signatures to place it on next year’s ballot.

Merced’s public safety and road improvement sales tax is on track to appear on the ballot for renewal. 

Earlier this week the Committee for a Safer Merced, led by former Merced Mayor Mike Murphy, submitted thousands of signatures to the Merced City Clerk in order to place Measure C on the ballot. 


The backstory: Measure C, a half-cent sales tax that provides funding for the Merced Police Department, the Merced Fire Department and public works projects, was first passed in 2005 and is set to expire in 2026. 

  • The measure has generated $105 million for the city so far. 
  • Last year the Merced City Council had an opportunity to place its renewal on the November 2022 ballot, but city lawmakers voted it down in part because it did not include an affordable housing element. That proposal did not include a sunset clause, meaning the tax would have existed in perpetuity. 

The big picture: Murphy and the committee submitted nearly 5,000 signatures to the Merced City Clerk, needing only 3,988 valid signatures to be certified for the ballot. 

  • Backers submitted the signatures with the intent to place it on the March 2024 ballot. 
  • City officials estimate that Merced could face a dreary future without Measure C, facing a $7 million budget shortfall annually. 
  • This version of Measure C would sunset after 20 years. 

What they’re saying: “This is a big group of people that we’re representing,” Murphy told the Merced City Council. “The stacks of petitions all represent people in households in our city and their desire for public safety.” 

  • Murphy and other supporters asked the council to support Measure C this time around. 
  • “Close to 5,000 registered voters in this city want this,” supporter Alison Kostecky said. “SO we would really, really, really love everyone on this council’s endorsement and support moving forward in getting this measure passed and approved again.” 
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