Fresno Mayor Lee Brand withdrew his plan Thursday morning to place in front of voters a sales tax measure equally benefiting public safety and parks.
The plan, announced Monday, called for raising the sales tax by a half-percent.
Brand needed a super-majority, or five of the seven council members, to agree for his proposal to reach the ballot.
But reaction since Monday from councilmembers indicated a clear lack of support.
“I do not see any chance that five members of the City Council will vote to put this measure on the November ballot and give our voters that opportunity,” Brand said in a news release.
As GV Wire reported Monday, three of the more conservative councilmen—Clint Olivier, Steve Brandau and Garry Bredefeld — said they would not support placing the measure on the ballot.
Brand’s plan would have been a second potential tax measure. A community organization, Fresno for Parks, is gathering signatures to place the item directly in front of voters. That proposal would raise the city sales tax by 3/8 of a percent, with the proceeds going all to parks and related programs.
Fresno for Parks, funded in part by the Central Valley Community Foundation, says they are close to reaching their goal of approximately 23,000 signatures. They recently advertised paying signature collectors $6 to $10 per signature.
Here is the entirety of Brand’s statement:
“It is with a mixture of both regret and hope that I am announcing the withdrawal of the parks and public safety ballot measure I introduced to Council.
“There are deep, wide and immediate needs throughout our City and while I completely believe that the people of Fresno deserve a chance to vote on what their City looks like and feels like over the next 15 years, I do not see any chance that five members of the City Council will vote to put this measure on the November ballot and give our voters that opportunity.
“I added language to formalize that the intent of this measure is to supplement and not supplant existing City expenditures on parks and public safety. I have reached out to Councilmembers on both sides of this issue and to advocates for a competing parks ballot measure with no luck.
“I believe this measure would go a long way towards fulfilling the compelling, massive and undeniable needs this City has for parks, police and fire service and I believe this is the ONLY measure of all of the ballot measures that have been discussed that has any reasonable or possible chance of success in the November election.
“I want you, the people of Fresno to know that I will continue to do everything in my power to deploy the limited revenues of the City of Fresno in the most efficient manner possible and that I will continue my job creation plan to improve the quality of life in this City. I am heartened and hopeful for the overwhelming support I have received from the brave men and women in our fire and police departments and our dedicated parks workers. And from community leaders and the citizens of Fresno. I urge all of you to join me in working together to make Fresno better and safer. Thank you.”