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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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City of Watsonville
Measure O - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


8,044 votes yes (75.49%)

2,612 votes no (24.51%)

To protect the quality of life in Watsonville by supporting police, fire, emergency services, parks and recreation, economic development, job creation, and essential city services; shall the City of Watsonville be authorized to levy an additional one percent of Transient Occupancy Tax on people staying at lodging facilities in the City?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Alan J. Smith, City Attorney

Article 3 of Chapter 6 of Title 3 of the Watsonville Municipal Code levies a 11% transient occupancy tax on each hotel or motel guest in the City. This ballot measure, if approved by City voters, would increase Watsonville’s transient occupancy tax from 11% to 12% of the room rent charged by the hotel or motel operator.

The City Council voted to approve the proposed tax but it can only go into effect if approved by a majority of voters (1 more than 50%) at the November 6, 2018, election. This Transient Occupancy Tax is a general tax meaning that all tax revenue is deposited in the City's General Fund and is available to pay for the costs of all City operations and programs including police and fire protection, parks and recreation programs, economic and employment development, and essential City services. This ballot measure therefore proposes a "general tax" rather than a "special tax" and requires a simple majority (1 more than 50% of those voting) to pass.

Many hotel/motel guests are tourists or City visitors. Therefore, much of the increased tax revenue from this measure, if adopted by the voters, would come from non-City residents. Revenue will pay for municipal services to these visitors while here and to City residents.

A “Yes” vote will increase the tax from 11% to 12%. A “No” vote will leave the tax unchanged at 11%.

Financial effect

Cindy Czerwin, Administrative Services Director, City of Watsonville

Measure O authorizes the City of Watsonville to increase the existing Transient Occupancy Tax (hotel tax) from 11% to 12%. Current tax proceeds are deposited in the General Fund and approval of this ordinance will not change that practice. Funds generated by the tax will continue to be used to fund services such as public safety services to include police and fire and community services offered by Parks and Community Services.

I estimate the approval of this tax measure will generate an additional $130,000 annually. The tax rate cannot be increased by action of the City Council without voter approval.

The projected revenues appear accurate based on my analysis of past transient occupancy revenues provided by City staff. In this analysis, I relied on the best data available at this time; however, actual revenues may be more or less than City staff’s estimates due to increased or decreased activity in activities generating Transient Occupancy Tax due to changes in the general economy.


Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

No Argument For Measure O was filed.

Arguments AGAINST

  • No Argument Against Measure O was filed

More information

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