Local Revenue

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

2006 Essential Services Measure (Y): Your half-cent sales tax.

Did you know the 2006 Essential Services Measure (Y)...

...is a local sales tax, giving the citizens of SLO a local source of funding?

...helps fund essential services like police patrols and fire engines?
is allocated by the Council based on direct input from residents and businesses?
generates one dollar in services for every 28 cents in sales tax spent by residents?
...is 72 percent funded by visitors and shoppers from outside the City?

...is primarily spent on infrastructure (50%) and public safety (25%)?
...generates over $6.5 million each year for projects of the highest priority?

...funds the City's Fire Marshal and other public safety personnel?
funds playground equipment, Senior Center remodeling and planting new trees?
enabled Downtown Renewal projects such as replacing the Mission Plaza stairs?
...is consistent with what 91% of other Californians pay in sales tax?

...expires March 2015? 

Public Education & Outreach


According to a recent Community Assessment Survey of 400 randomly selected registered voters:

    95% consider the City an excellent or pretty good place to live.

    67% believe the City is doing an excellent or good job delivering services.

    64% support Essential Services Measure renewal, which rises to 72% after hearing background info.

2014 Benchmark Study

San Luis Obispo ranked favorably in a fiscal comparison with eight similar California cities. Benchmarks included revenues, expenses, public safety, road conditions and other service outcomes. San Luis Obispo had the strongest sales tax revenue per capita, which helps deliver quality levels of service to the community. Find out more about how the City measures up in the 2014 Benchmark Study.

Local Revenue Advisory Committee

The City Council appointed a group of volunteer citizens to analyze the City's stewardship of Measure Y and report back to the community. Check out their recommendations here.

Upcoming Meetings

1.  Council Hearing: July 15, 2014.

    A.  Second Reading of Nov. 2014 ballot measure. Agenda report.

    B.  Second Reading of Revenue Enhancement Oversight Commission. Agenda report.

    C.  Fiscal Contingency Planning. Agenda report.

What is the Essential Services Measure (Y)?

Essential Services Measure is a local half-cent (per dollar) sales tax.

Statewide sales tax is 7.5% or 7.5 cents per dollar spent. Of that, the State only returns one cent per dollar to cities.

With the Essential Services Measure (Y), SLO benefits from an additional half-cent per dollar spent in the City.

Essential Services Measure (Y) contains a sunset provision meaning that it will expire March 31, 2015 unless reauthorized by the voters at a general election.

Check out the Essential Services Sales Tax Ordinance adopted by Council in 2006 or the info flyer for more details.

What is Essential Services Measure (Y) used for?

Measure Y Dollar 4-7 update



Measure Y revenue is used to protect and maintain essential municipal services such as neighborhood street paving, pothole repair, traffic relief, public safety and infrastructure projects.

Spending decisions for the Essential Services Measure (Y) revenue are made as part of the City budget. Check out the 2013-15 Financial Plan Budget in Brief.


Essential Services Measure (Y) expenditures are determined by the City Council, whom receive public input on community goals during the budget process. Those expenditures are reported in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and presented annually at a Community Forum.

2006-14 Essential Services Measure (Y) Annual Budgets and Audits:

2007-08 Budget and audit results

2008-09 Budget and audit results

2009-10 Budget and audit results

2010-11 Budget and audit results

2011-12 Budget and audit results

2012-13 Budget and audit results

2013-14 Budget (audit in FY14-15)

Contingency Planning

If Essential Services Measure (Y) is not reauthorized or replaced in the November 2014 General Election, it will sunset and the City will stop collecting this revenue in March 2015. While securing future revenue is a Major City Goal, it makes sense to be prepared with a contingency plan in case the community decides not to renew or replace Essential Services Measure (Y).

The Council’s directed staff to develop a two-part contingency plan to be presented at the 07/15/14 Council Hearing:

  1. Identify  the specific reductions needed immediately to address the shortfall that would occur during 2014-15 (including using General Fund reserves).

  2. Address the City's long-term fiscal position and provide a general menu of reductions to inform the community and decision-makers about potential impacts, including at least three different slates of options for achieving reductions.

Council also requested the Essential Services Measure (Y) Community Forum be used as a public venue to discuss contingency planning. The Forum was held on March 19th and attended by over 50 residents. It's not too late to provide input on contingency planning! Fill out both Community Forum surveys below on where City spending should be reduced:


Do you have any questions about the Essential Services Measure (Y) or want to find out more?
Check out the FAQs.

For questions or feedback about the information on this page, please e-mail City Administration

Free viewers are required for some of the attached documents.
They can be downloaded by clicking on the icons below.

Acrobat Reader Download Acrobat Reader Flash Player Download Flash Player Windows Media Player Download Windows Media Player Microsoft Silverlight Download Microsoft Silverlight Word Viewer Download Word Viewer Excel Viewer Download Excel Viewer PowerPoint Viewer Download PowerPoint Viewer