Modesto Residents Vote on Library and Marijuana Taxes

On Tuesday, residents of Modesto headed out to the polls to choose representatives for the Modesto City Council, the Modesto Irrigation District, and the Modesto City Schools committees, as well as representatives for the fire, school, and irrigation districts of Stanislaus County. That is not all they are voting on, however: Modesto voters must decide whether Measure T lives or dies.

Measure T is a proposed marijuana business tax of 10 percent on the gross receipts of pot activities, despite the City Council having not made a decision yet as to whether it will even allow marijuana businesses to operate in Modesto. However, if the council does decide to permit pot businesses in its jurisdiction, Measure T will allow the council to tax them, provided voters approve it.

To pass, Measure T needs only a simple majority vote, and if achieved, the city will be able to utilize the generated taxes for any general purpose it may require. Additionally, voters across the county must decide on Measure S, which is an extension of the current sales tax that is funding the county’s library system. Measure S would allow a 12-year extension of this tax on sales.

The county will only be able to use the tax on its 13 branch libraries, and it provides the library system with 89 percent of its current $10.5 million annual budget. To pass, though, Measure S will require a two-thirds majority vote. Voters must also have their say on issues influencing other races on this year’s ballot question.

Voters need to choose three members to sit on the Modesto City Council. Incumbent from District 2, Tony Madrigal, is facing challenge from Jon Rodriguez and Homero Mejia. Joe Day is challenging the District 5 incumbent, Jenny Kenoyer. Voters will need to elect their chosen representatives to this council and others.

There are several candidates clamoring to represent the Modesto City Schools board, particularly in Areas 5 and 7. Voters must choose from among them. Candidates in Area 5 include Charlene West, Rickey McGill, and Michael Scheid. The candidates for Area 7 include Ryan Schambers, Adolfo Lopez, and Matthew Harrington. None of the candidates is incumbent.

In their respective areas, board members Chad Brown and Cindy Marks are running unopposed. However, Stu Gilman is challenging Modesto Irrigation District board member, Jake Wenger, for representative of MID Division 4, which includes northwest Modesto, Wood Colony, and Salida. Representing other divisions, board members Paul Campbell and John Mensinger are also unopposed.

Polls remained open on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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