On Tuesday, July 19 the Arcadia City Council voted to place three local measures on the Nov. 8, 2022, ballot. Voters will be considering an amendment to the City Charter, an increase to the city’s Transient Occupancy Tax rate similar to nearby cities, and a new local tax that would be implemented if Sports Wagering is approved statewide this fall.
Proposed City Charter Amendment Measure
The City Charter was last amended in 1998. Therefore, the City Council created a citizen-led Charter Review Committee last year to review the document and propose recommended updates to mirror changes in state law since 1998 and to reflect current local government standards and conventions. The committee’s proposed updates include:
- Mirroring changes in state law to increase voter turnout by moving the date of regularly scheduled city council elections from April in even-numbered years to the November Statewide General Election in even-numbered years.
- Recognizing the city’s change to by-district elections as required by the California Voting Rights Act.
- Creating a rotation of the mayor and mayor pro tem positions every 9.5 months to allow all councilmembers to serve during their term.
- Changing the position of City Clerk from elected to appointed.
- Other amendments to streamline government, utilize technology, and increase transparency.
“These changes to Arcadia’s City Charter were recommended by our Charter Review Committee after reviewing best practices adopted by other cities and models provided by the National League of Cities,” said City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto. “These recommended changes aim to increase participation in Arcadia city government and allow the city to operate efficiently.”
The City Council also added a proposed change to the charter that would authorize the city council to appoint a city prosecutor to prosecute local crimes in lieu of the district attorney.
The city council voted unanimously to place all of these proposed changes before voters for consideration as a charter amendment measure.
“As each of our councilmembers expressed at the meeting last Tuesday, we are very appreciative of the time and effort devoted to this issue by our citizen volunteer Charter Review Committee and we are in agreement that these updates to our charter will be good for our city,” Mayor Tom Beck added.
Measures To Increase Locally Controlled Funding
The city council also voted to place two local revenue measures on the ballot for voters to consider.
One measure would increase Arcadia’s local tax on stays at hotels and motels from 10% to 12% — a similar rate to many neighboring cities.
The other measure would enact a local tax on sports wagers if sports betting becomes legal in California. State Proposition 26, also on the November ballot, would allow in-person betting at casinos and horseracing facilities such as Arcadia’s Santa Anita Park.
“While Prop 26, the statewide initiative to legalize sports wagering, includes a state tax, it doesn’t include any revenue source for cities like Arcadia to help offset the local impact of sports betting,” City Manager Lazzaretto said. “This measure would address that.”
Arcadia’s measure would allow the city to collect a tax of up to 5% of sports wagering gross revenue from all sports bets placed at a business in Arcadia. The tax would not apply to horse racing but would apply to all other sports wagers placed locally.
Beck noted, “The hotel tax would be paid mostly by visitors to Arcadia. The gambling tax would only be paid by those who gamble on sports.”
Funds from the measures may be used for general city services and infrastructure improvements.
Each of the three measures must be approved by a majority of local voters. For full descriptions of all the proposed Charter amendments and more information on the measures, visit ArcadiaCA.gov/Measures.