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Zoo Tax Renewal Will Go to Fresno Voters in June

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An old Measure Z sign featuring Nosey the Elephant is relevant again. (GV Wire/David Taub)
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Update, 3/08/2022: The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to place Measure Z on the June 7, 2022, ballot at its Tuesday meeting.

Original story:

A countywide sales tax funding the Fresno Chaffee Zoo could return to voters as soon as June.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors will decide on Tuesday whether to place the tax measure on the June ballot.

The 0.1% sales tax is set to expire in 2025. If placed on the ballot, voters will have an opportunity on June 7 to extend Measure Z for another 15 years, through 2040.

In recent years, the zoo has added an African exhibit, Sea Lion Cove, a Dino Dig, and has several other upgrades ongoing.

$15 Million a Year for the Zoo

The Fresno County Zoo Authority says Measure Z raises approximately $15 million a year for various zoo services and infrastructure. Two-thirds of the money raised would go to capital projects; one-third would go toward operations and maintenance.

During a zoo authority discussion on Feb. 16, members debated when and why the measure should be placed on the June ballot.

One reason discussed was to give enough time for another election in case voters reject the next Measure Z. It would also prevent competing with other tax measures on a November ballot.

Another reason was to get a jump on any possible opposition.

“The likelihood of having any kind of organized opposition is going to be very low,” zoo board member Ralph Waterhouse said.

The authority board also debated the measure’s length — 15 years won out over a 10-year renewal; whether to change the spending formula — out of fears of opposition, it will not; and whether to incorporate adjacent Storyland and Playland into the funding — it will not.

Approved in 2004, Extended in 2014

Measure Z was first approved by voters in 2004 and renewed for 10 years in 2014. The zoo estimates the one-tenth of 1% tax it had raised $137 million in revenue through 2020.

It will need to receive two-thirds approval from the voters to pass.

Both the Fresno Chaffee Zoo and Measure Z proponents said they would comment after Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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