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Chula Vista voters will decide whether to renew a major infrastructure tax this fall

A white building with a red-tiled roof is seen through the blur of a green bush in the foreground.
Kori Suzuki for KPBS / California Local
The courtyard outside Chula Vista City Hall is pictured on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023.

Chula Vista residents will get to decide whether to renew a major infrastructure tax during the upcoming November election.

The citywide sales tax, known as Measure P, raises around $25 million every year for repairs and improvements to basic city services. It was originally approved in 2016 and was scheduled to wind down in less than three years.

Now, residents will decide whether to keep Measure P going. Last week, the Chula Vista City Council voted unanimously to put a measure on the ballot that will give voters the option to renew the tax for another decade.


Measure P is one of two local sales taxes that customers currently pay in Chula Vista, both of which add a half-cent charge to every dollar spent. The second is a public safety tax that gives additional funding to the police and fire departments.

Those taxes make up a significant chunk of the city’s main operating budget, which was just over $258 million last year.

Chula Vista has one of the highest tax rates in San Diego County at 8.75%, tied with National City, Imperial Beach, Del Mar and Solana Beach.

Over the last seven years, Measure P funds have gone towards repaving city streets, renovating storm drains, repairs to several fire stations and upgrading several public parks.

This past year, some of those repairs and upgrades included adding a new astroturf field and replacing an aging basketball court at Lauderbach Park, completing construction of the new Loma Verde Community Center and launching a comprehensive effort to shore up the city’s storm drain system and prevent future floods.


City leaders also plan to use some of those tax dollars to renovate and reopen the temporarily-shuttered Harborside Park.

At last week’s council meeting, a handful of residents shared diverging views on whether voters should extend the infrastructure tax.

“Chula Vista is a beautiful city and it’s our responsibility to keep it thriving,” said resident Victor Avina. “The renewal of this half-cent sales tax will set the infrastructure groundwork for our kids and for generations to come.”

Others questioned whether allowing Measure P to sunset might lower prices and reduce some of the cost of living pressures that many residents are feeling right now.

“I really do understand the frustration of the families,” said resident Delia Dominguez Cervantes. “You go buy a loaf of bread, it’s double the price from a couple years ago.”

According to early polling by city staff, most Chula Vista residents said they would support renewing the infrastructure tax.

Participants in the city’s ballot tests said city leaders should continue to prioritize improving parks, fixing potholes and repairing things like sidewalks and storm drains, along with addressing homelessness.

Councilmember Jose Preciado said the City Council’s vote to add the measure to the ballot means that, ultimately, residents will get to decide.

“The vote that will happen in November is an opportunity,” he said. “If the taxpayers do not want to support this, that is their choice. And it will be something we have to contend with.”