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Belvedere fire measure sailing to victory, schools bond is stumbling

Belvedere’s ballot initiative to let the city keep spending fire-tax revenue will cruise to victory, though the fate of the high-school district’s $517-million bond measure remains up in the air.

 

Preliminary results from the March 5 presidential primary shows Belvedere’s Measure C winning with more than 76% of the vote where only a simple majority is required. Voters approved the existing fire tax on property-tax bills in 2000 to help fund its contract for fire and emergency services through the Tiburon Fire Protection District. But every four years, residents must separately approve a higher budget ceiling that allows the city to keep spending all the money. The tax funds about half of the contract each year, with the rest coming from Belvedere’s general fund.

 

 

Meanwhile, Measure A for the Tamalpais Union High School District had about 52% support as of election night, though 55% is required for it to pass. The measure would levy an annual tax of $30 per $100,000 of assessed value on properties in the district, which includes Tiburon, Belvedere, Strawberry and more than a dozen other communities. If approved, the tax is expected to generate about $36 million annually to repay the bond, which will be used for campus updates, including repairing and replacing roofs, as well as plumbing and heating and cooling systems; updating classrooms; completing Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades; repairing or replacing portable classrooms; and installing, repairing and replacing security, fire lighting and other safety systems.

 

Critics have said the estimated $1.04 billion taxpayer cost to repay the bond after interest is outrageous, that the money is too focused on Redwood and Tamalpais high schools and that it’s packed with unnecessary projects.

 

 

For complete coverage, read the March 13 edition of The Ark.

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