In recent weeks, City staff has been hitting the speaking circuit to present the need, cost and impact of a possible Flood Control Bond that could be placed on the November ballot. During the presentation, directors of various City departments explained the need for the infrastructure repair both immediate and long term plans and the cost of the first phase of the project. With a $47 million dollar price tag to improve the structure that would protect the downtown from the effects of a one hundred year flood, staff indicated that deferring repairs for years has left us vulnerable to devastation should we experience monumental flooding.
At the same time a Parcel Value tax is being proposed that would provide revenue to sidewalk repair and installation, tree planting, park maintenance and ADA curb installation.
Following the presentation made to the Chamber’s Board of Directors, Government Review Committee and interested Chamber members, a thoughtful discussion took place noting the significant increase in taxes that would be levied against commercial property owners. While all agreed that there was a genuine need for infrastructure repair it was agreed that there needed to be more time and alternative measures presented before a general bond was in order. While the need appears to be very real the urgency was distracting and there were many at the table that believed more time was necessary to search for reasonable solutions. A motion was made and unanimously approved to oppose the Measure at this time, encouraging staff and council to look for alternate solutions.
At the last City Council meeting in February elected leaders heard from the staff regarding responses to the multiple community presentations. Following a lengthy discussion to the benefit of placing one or both items on the November ballot Council ultimately decided to form a sub-committee served by Council Member Bob Gardner and Mayor Pete Aguilar, to research further, look at additional opportunities and revisit the issue in May.
The Chamber will monitor the advancement of one or both items providing information to the membership and business community and will report back the outcome of the subcommittee’s finding and ultimately the Council’s ballot decision.