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Belvedere OKs charter-and-tax measure for November ballot

Belvedere will ask voters in November to approve a 0.8-percent real-estate transfer tax to help fund $20 million in seismic upgrades on Beach Road and San Rafael Avenue.

The City Council at its June 13 meeting voted unanimously to place the tax on the Nov. 8 ballot as part of a bundled measure that would also convert Belvedere to a charter city, a requirement for being able to levy the tax. The single two-part measure would require a simple majority to pass.

The council’s decision comes amid continued pushback from a group of Belvedere residents who oppose the tax and change in charter; an online petition circulated by the group, which calls itself Accountable Belvedere, has so far collected nearly 200 signatures from residents who say they plan to vote against the ballot measure.

Belvedere officials for years have stressed the urgency of fortifying the city’s seawalls along Beach Road and San Rafael Avenue to protect its main roadways and vulnerable intersections in the event of a massive 100-year storm and future sea rise. The project more recently has expanded to include fortifying the 80-year-old roads that house essential utilities — such as internet, water, power, sewage and gas lines — and in the event of an earthquake or flood, could be rendered impassable for first responders and residents.

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