Watchdog: Viewpoints on June ballot measures

Watchdog-LogoBy Barbara Zivica

June is a busy month for voters. The Contra Costa County official ballot asks voters to decide on various candidates and two ballot measures. One is the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act which deserves a yes vote. The second is a ballot measure in regard to public records, open meeting and state reimbursements to local agencies. Vote no on this one as it just frees the state from having to reimburse cities and counties for complying with a state mandate and potentially will cost local governments tens of millions of dollars annually.

Two other local agencies, the Contra Costa Community College District and the Delta Diablo Sanitation District, are seeking more money from district residents. The difference is you get to approve or disapprove CCCCD’s June 3rd Measure E bond measure which requires 55% vote approval but you don’t get to vote on Delta Diablo Sewer proposed service charge increase although the district is accepting written protests and will hold a Public Hearing on the $17.86 service charge increase on June 11th at 5:30.

A little background on both:

CONTRA COSTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT’S MEASURE E: For the past twelve years the district has gone to voters time and time ago for more money and voters have approved bonds totaling $406.5 million that, according to the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association will cost taxpayers over one billion dollars. Now the district wants voters to approve another $450M in new bond debt.

In November 2012 the CCCCD asked voters to approve a bond measure to “maintain high quality education, support course offerings and instruction programs, including healthcare, technology and public safety, increase access to support services and prepare students for university transfer.” However, two months prior to seeking voter approval Los Medanos College put out a legal notice inviting pre-qualified contractors to bid on a $10 to $15 million student service remodel, project subject to a Project Stability Agreement (PSA) between the college district and the CCC Building and Construction Trades Council. Such agreements are discriminatory because they exclude non union workers and can raise the cost of a project by 12 to 18%.

This June’s Measure E states that bond proceeds will generally be used to upgrade school sites, school facilities and support facilities but doesn’t guarantee that all of the projects listed in the Bond Project list will be funded or completed. The measure also states that all projects will fall under district construction policies – Project Stability Agreements (PSA) limiting completion and increasing project costs. Vote NO on Measure E.

DELTA DIABLO SANITATION DISTRICT PROPOSED $17.86 SEWER SERVICE CHARGE INCREASE: The current sewer service charge is $273.10 annually per single family resident. An additional $17.86 per year would bring the total amount to $290.96 for tax year 2014. (2015 to be discussed at the public hearing.) Frankly, I’ve become opposed to what’s becoming increasing large annual increases on all special taxes and assessments on my property tax bill.

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