FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How is the City of South Pasadena doing?
Those who live or work here agree that the City is exceptional. Here in South Pasadena, we have outstanding city services that support our high quality of life. Our City is one of less than 25% of California cities that provide a full range of municipal services within city limits, including outstanding police and fire departments, a great local library, street maintenance that fills potholes on our roads and sidewalks and world-class parks and recreation facilities. Even during challenging times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of South Pasadena is working to support and protect the essential city services relied on by local residents and businesses.
What is the Utility Users Tax (UUT)?
The City of South Pasadena collects the Utility Users Tax (UUT) on cable, cell phone, electric, gas, water and telecommunications services to fund vital city services. The UUT is the only tax revenue entirely controlled by the City of South Pasadena, with 100% of the funds staying right here in our community. This tax funds a variety of important city services such as our police and fire departments, library, parks, senior center and street repair services. Other San Gabriel Valley cities that have the UUT include:
Why is Measure U on the November 2020 ballot?
For nearly four decades, the City of South Pasadena has relied upon funding from its Utility Users Tax (UUT). Currently generating $3.4 million annually, the UUT is the City’s second largest source of funds, providing 12% of the General Fund. This vital funding is once again set to expire. Measure U is on the ballot to renew this essential local funding source without increasing tax rates.
If Measure U passes, what specific services will it provide?
• Preserve rapid 911 emergency response times
• Maintain firefighters and paramedics
• Fund community, family, youth, senior, and library programs
• Repair city streets and sidewalks for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists
• Support crime prevention and neighborhood safety
• Keep parks and public areas safe and clean
• Help prepare for disasters and health emergencies
Will South Pasadena lose critical local funding if Measure U doesn’t pass?
Yes. Without Measure U, South Pasadena will lose over $3 million in annual funding at a time when all cities are facing steep declines in revenue due to the COVID-19 economic downturn. This would force steep reductions to all city departments and shrink investments in roads and public infrastructure. Cuts will be required in all of the areas that make South Pasadena such an exceptional place to live, including each area listed above.
Does Measure U require local control and accountability provisions?
Yes. All funds must be spent solely for programs and services in South Pasadena. By law, no funds may be taken away by the State or Los Angeles County. Low-income residents are eligible for an exemption.
When will Measure U be on the ballot?
Measure U is on the November 3, 2020 ballot.
Who is eligible to vote on Measure U?
All registered voters in South Pasadena are eligible to vote on Measure U.
How can I vote YES on U?
All registered voters in South Pasadena will receive a ballot in the mail the week of October 5. Vote YES on U, complete your ballot, sign and seal the envelope and mail it right away. No postage is required. Drop boxes will also be installed to make it easy to return ballots. Vote Centers will be available from October 24 through November 3 for returning ballots or to vote in person. Track your ballot to ensure that it is received and counted at WheresMyBallot.sos.ca.gov.
How can I find out more information about voting or registering to vote?
You can register to vote by visiting www.RegisterToVote.ca.gov or by calling the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters at (800) 815-2666. Visit for more information about voting.
How can I learn more about preserving critical locally controlled funding in South Pasadena?
Please visit www.SouthPasYesonU.com to learn more about the critical importance of preserving South Pasadena’s top-notch city services.
WHAT IS THE UTILITY USERS TAX?
Since 1983 South Pasadena residents and businesses have paid a Utility Users Tax (UUT) on certain utility services – telephone, cable, gas, water and electricity. The tax rate is currently 7.5% of the amount charged by the utility company for providing the service. The tax is collected by the utility company with its monthly billing and remitted to the City, which uses the revenue to provide services such as public safety, library, parks and recreation, and many programs benefiting school aged children, adults, and seniors
WHY DOES THE TAX NEED TO BE RENEWED?
The UUT is a critical source of revenue for the City, and at 12% of the City’s General Fund, it is the second largest revenue source for the City, after property taxes. The UUT generates millions to help pay for integral services that the City provides to its residents on a daily basis. UUT funds help our City maintain public safety staffing levels, street and road maintenance, senior services and recreational programs, all of which make South Pasadena a desirable place to live and do business
HOW WILL THE UUT ORDINANCE BE RENEWED?
On August 5, 2020, the South Pasadena City Council voted unanimously to place Measure U on the November 3, 2020 ballot. If approved by voters, Measure U will allow the continuation of the existing tax at its current rate, until it is repealed by voters.
WILL PASSAGE OF MEASURE U INCREASE THE TAX RATE?
No. The current tax rate of 7.5% will remain unchanged.
IS THERE AN EXEMPTION FOR QUALIFIED LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS FROM PAYING THE UUT?
Yes. Under the existing UUT ordinance, certain low-income residents can qualify for an exemption from paying the UUT.
HOW CAN WE BE ASSURED THAT FUNDS WILL CONTINUE TO BE SPENT RESPONSIBLY?
All city revenues and expenditures are subject to, and will continue to be subject to independent annual financial audits. Additionally the budget, financial statements, and other financial reports are available to the public on the city website.
For more information on the UUT, visit www.southpasadenaca.gov/UUT