Lemon Grove Voters Reject Measure S. Now What?

Despite fears over possible discincorporation, Lemon Grove voters rejected a 0.75% sales tax measure Tuesday. Returns show over 59% of voters saying no to Measure S, which would have raised the city’s total sales tax to 8.5%.

Lemon Grove is facing a projected deficit of $400,000 by the end of the fiscal year. Its budget woes—driven in part by climbing pension obligations and public safety—could eventually force the city to disincorporate, some Measure S proponents say.

One of the problems with Measure S, according to the opposition, was the lack of spending cuts to accompany it on the part of the city. Mary England, a former city councilwoman and opponent of the tax measure, also pointed to the absence of a sunset date. England, who now heads the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, has called talk of disincorporation a “scare tactic.”

One way the city hopes to increase its revenue is through a future cannabis ordinance. There are no licensed brick-and-mortar shops in Lemon Grove yet. England has urged the council to move forward with a tax and regulation system.

“To help diversify its revenue sources, the city has also offered a passport processing service and transitioned away from printed materials at meetings,” Voice of San Diego reports. “The city has also installed electric billboards along the freeway and tried reducing personnel costs by leaving empty positions open and by contracting out certain responsibilities.”

Read more about Tuesday’s vote at KPBS.