Boulder Creek and Brookdale residents served by the Boulder Creek Recreation and Parks District will be voting on a parcel tax measure on the November ballot. The synopsis of the measure reads:
To improve and build large capital and infrastructure projects, improve safety and enhance our aged buildings and parks, build new public and ADA accessible restrooms, replace ailing infrastructure of our Downtown and Bear Creek Facilities, and develop alternative green energy to power our public spaces, and utilize locally controlled funding with independent oversight, shall BCRPD Capital Improvement Measure levy $36 per parcel/equivalent dwelling unit annually for 30 years?
Read the complete resolution at https://www.votescount.us/Portals/16/nov2022/Measure%20T%20Resolution.pdf
Impartial Analysis of Measure T
The county’s analysis reads:
Under the California Constitution and Government Code, a special district may impose a parcel tax if approved by at least 66% percent (two-thirds) of voters within the boundaries of that district. Parcel taxes are paid equally by all property owners, regardless of the size or value of the property.
Measure T has been placed on the ballot by the Boulder Creek Recreation and Parks District (“the District”). The District proposes a parcel tax in the amount of $36 per parcel annually for a period of 30 years, beginning January 1, 2023. The proposed measure also allows for an increase to the tax of 3% each year as a cost-of-living adjustment. The total amount of funds the proposed tax would generate was not provided by the District.
In accordance with state law, the District is only permitted to utilize the proceeds of the parcel tax for specific purposes or projects if the measure is approved. Voters are referred to the Voter Information Guide to review the full text of the proposed measure for a determination of those specific purposes.
Additionally, the law requires the District to follow certain accountability provisions during the duration of the parcel tax. This includes creating a special account into which the proceeds of the parcel tax shall be deposited. The District also will be required to publish an annual report that contains information about the amount of taxes collected and expended as well as the status of any projects funded by these proceeds. The first report would need to be filed by July 1, 2023, and at least once a year thereafter. Finally, the District would establish a parcel tax oversight committee to review the expenditures of the parcel tax revenues.
The full text of the proposed measure includes a reference for two possible exemptions for property owners who qualify. This includes a “Senior Citizen Exemption” and/or the treatment of certain contiguous parcels as a single parcel. Property owners would need to apply directly with the District to obtain those exemptions.
A “yes” vote on Measure T is a vote to authorize a parcel tax of $36 annually for 30 years.
A “no” vote on Measure T is a vote against the parcel tax.
JASON M. HEATH, COUNTY COUNSEL
By: Ruby Márquez, Chief Assistant County Counsel
Argument Against Measure T
The argument against Measure T reads:
Voting on a thirty-year tax is a solemn occasion. The agenda packet and minutes of the BCRPD Board of Directors July meeting show they accepted a draft resolution including Exhibit C, a notice of public hearing on a parcel tax “not to exceed $25” at their next meeting. That notice duly posted outside the BCRPD office estimated the tax would raise $166,000 per year totaling $4.9 million.
Contrary to the notice, the action taken at their August meeting was this $36 tax with an annual increase of up to 3%, which might ultimately reach $85. It could raise $239,000 initially and total $11.4 million. From $25 to $36 is a 44% increase and the escalator clause adds another 60%, a compound increase of 130% over the noticed amount.
BCRPD already receives its share, about $240,000, of the basic property tax we pay to local governments, which changes annually. Measure T would roughly double those dollars. What agency doubles its tax revenue in one year?
BCRPD’s resolution still mentions Exhibit C, but they are ashamed and left it off their filing with the elections department. Since they didn’t honor their July posted notice in August, how can we trust them in reviewing each annual increase? We can only expect automatic increases. They want us to vote once and have our taxes escalate for thirty years.
If Measure T’s escalator clause succeeds, every district will do likewise. Let’s stop this now so parcel taxes don’t grow exponentially. Districts should face voters whenever they raise taxes. We should expect transparency and prudent stewardship from our elected leaders, who cynically say one thing and do another. Let’s reject this hasty money grab with its phony notice. Let’s insist they bring a modest proposal in an honest way. Please vote No on T.
Boulder Creek homeowner
Boulder Creek homeowner
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