Frequently Asked Questions
Local Needs in Redlands


What contributes to Redlands’ high quality of life?

Here in Redlands, we’re a big town with a small town feel. Our city has something for everyone — parks, local businesses, the A.K. Smiley Public Library, senior and youth programs, excellent public safety services and more.

As Redlands plans for the future in this difficult economic climate, the City is working hard to preserve city services and maintain residents’ quality of life.

What public safety challenges are facing the City of Redlands?

We’re proud that Redlands is one of the few cities in the County with its own Police and Fire Departments, guaranteeing local control and that our police and firefighters are available when needed and not diverted to service other cities.

However, calls for 9-1-1 emergencies, crime rates and fire risks are all much higher than in the past, and the City has fewer police officers, firefighters and paramedics in Redlands today than we did 10 years ago. Ensuring that the City has enough police officers, firefighters and paramedics to respond quickly to 9-1-1 emergencies is critical to keeping our community a safe place to live, maintaining response times and saving lives.

Additionally, reducing homelessness in Redlands is going to require additional public safety resources to help address the issue.

What other needs are facing the City?

The City is responsible for keeping our parks, roads, sidewalks, storm drains and other local infrastructure clean, safe and well-maintained.

The City continues to prioritize keeping up with basic repairs and maintenance to public facilities and local infrastructure. When these repairs are not addressed, they become a lot more expensive to repair in the future. With over 12 miles of damaged sidewalks and 15 miles of damaged curbs, an additional local source of funding would help the City fix its aging infrastructure and keep up with regular repairs.

How are budget cuts affecting city services?

Though the City has created a balanced budget every year for the past 12 years, the scope of the City’s needs is greater than the current resources available. Despite the City’s fiscal conservatism, Redlands is facing an $5.6 million budget shortfall following the economic downturn and coronavirus shutdowns. That budget deficit is expected to widen in the future.

In response to this deficit, the City has been working to trim all nonessential expenses and has already been forced to make significant budget cuts, including but not limited to cutting 80 City positions, Police Department positions, animal shelter attendant positions and library services. Without a new revenue stream, the cuts will become more severe in the next fiscal year.

How is the City planning to maintain city services and address City needs amidst these budget cuts?

To preserve the public safety, city services and local infrastructure, the Redlands City Council recently voted to place a one-cent sales tax measure on the November 3, 2020 ballot. The measure could provide locally-controlled funding to offset the budget deficit, address needs locally and minimize budget cuts.

What would the local sales tax measure fund?

The local measure could address needs across the community, including but not limited to:

  • Addressing the homelessness problem
  • Maintaining police services including neighborhood police patrols, crime prevention and investigations
  • Reducing gang activity and drug-related crimes
  • Keeping public areas, parks and recreation facilities well-maintained and free of graffiti and maintaining public buildings and infrastructure including sidewalks, curbs and storm drains
  • Providing fire protection and paramedic services and replacing outdated lifesaving and firefighting equipment

How do we know funds from the local measure would be spent responsibly?

The local sales tax measure would require fiscal accountability protections, including:

  • Currently, nearly all of the sales tax generated locally goes to the State or the County – all money raised by the local measure would stay in Redlands to address local needs
  • By law, no funds could be taken away by the State
  • A clear system of accountability would be required, including independent citizens’ oversight and annual audits to ensure that the money is spent properly
  • Groceries, prescription medicine and other essential items would be excluded from the sales tax measure

How much would the sales tax cost?

The local measure is a one-cent sales tax that would generate approximately $10 million in local funding for Redlands public safety and city services. For example, a one-cent increase would add one dollar to a $100 purchase.

How long would the sales tax measure last?

The measure would last until ended by voters.

Do sales tax measures affect essential purchases like groceries and prescription medicine?

No. By law, essential purchases like these are exempt from sales tax.

Who would pay for this sales tax?

The local sales tax would not be a tax on property, meaning both local residents and out-of-town visitors would pay sales tax on purchases. The local sales tax measure would help ensure out-of-town visitors pay their fair share when they shop in our community.

If the sales tax measure is approved, how would Redlands’ sales tax rate compare to nearby cities?

San Bernardino County cities have sales tax rates ranging between 7.75% and 8.75%. The current sales tax rate in Redlands is 7.75%, which is the lowest possible tax rate in San Bernardino County. If approved, a one-cent increase would bring the sales tax up to 8.75%, the same rate as Yucca Valley and Barstow. Other surrounding cities with sales tax rates of 8.75% or higher include Riverside, Palm Springs, Pomona and Temecula.

Additionally, many neighboring cities are considering increasing their local sales tax rate to maintain city services amidst budget deficits.

What level of support would a potential measure need to pass?

The local sales tax measure would need a 50% majority vote in order to pass. All registered voters living in the City of Redlands would be eligible to vote on the measure.

How can I register to vote or learn more about voting?

You can register to vote at To find out more about voting in the November 3, 2020 election, please contact the Redlands City Clerk at 909-798-7531.

How can I learn more or provide feedback?

You can learn more or take our online survey to provide feedback at You can also contact Public Information Officer Carl Baker at (909) 798-7687 or with any questions or comments.