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City of Ventura – Budget Advisory Committees Story

Case Story

Community:City of Ventura (Ventura County)

Population: 106,433

Summary: Citizen Blue Ribbon Budget Committee

In February 2009, the Ventura City Council created a Citizen Blue Ribbon Budget Committee, a fifteen person working group to dialogue with the community regarding the submission of a revenue measure to the voters.

Interested community members were asked to participate by attending four community meetings held by the committee during the month of March for the purpose of taking public testimony and making a recommendation to the Ventura City Council as to whether or not a sales tax measure should be placed on the ballot, when the measure should be placed on the ballot if it is pursued, and how the revenue generated by the measure should be spent.

The committee presented their report to the City Council in April 2009 and recommended that a measure to increase sales tax by a 1/2 cent subject to a 4-year sunset provision should be placed on the ballot. The Mayor of Ventura commented that, “this intense, three-month budgeting exercise that saw the City Council, city staff and members of the community come together to “budget for outcomes” resulted in an $11 million cut in spending. Every city employee agreed to a five percent cut in compensation, and programs and staff positions were eliminated.

The City Council complied with the recommendation from the committee and voted to add a 1/2 cent sales tax, Measure A, to the November ballot. The measure, however, failed to pass.




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