Schools, parks, pool bonds win vote

John Geluardi Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday November 08, 2000

Bond measures for schools, libraries a warm pool, parks maintenance and lighting took off at full speed from the moment the absentee ballots were written and continued full tilt until after 1 a.m. when 83 precincts reported their ballots. 

Measure AA, which needed a two-thirds vote to pass, snagged 83 percentage at the polls. 

It authorizes the school district to issue $116.5 million bonds for improved school safety, structural upgrades and new classrooms.  

The bonds will be issued in increments and will cost property owners an estimated $18.20 per $100,000 of the assessed value of their property during the first tax year the bonds are repaid, which is scheduled for 2007-08. The highest estimated tax rate is $149.60 per $100,000 of assessed property value during the tax year 2025-26. 

Measure BB, a special parcel tax, garnered 78.8 percent. Proceeds will go for the maintenance and upkeep of Berkeley schools, including repairs to roofs, classrooms, playgrounds, electrical systems and fire and safety systems. 

The parcel tax will be assessed for 12 years at a rate of 4.5 cents per square foot of residential property and 6.75 cents per square foot of commercial, industrial and institutional buildings for 12 years starting July 1, 2001. 

Library measures P and V also took off strong early in the evening and kept on going. P garnered 83.4 percent of the vote and V got 86 percent. 

Measure P, a general obligation bond, required a 2/3 vote and will potentially raise $5.2 million. The bonds will be issued only if the Berkeley Libraries can secure matching funds from the state or other sources. The funds will be dedicated to shoring up and expanding the branch libraries. 

The average cost to property owners will be 43 cents per $100,000 of assessed property value over the 30-year term of the issue. 

Measure V is a reaffirmation of the Library Relief Act of 1980. The Relief Act is the only source of funds the library system receives. The passage will not increase taxes and will allow the Berkeley Public library to continue its current level of service.  

As a provision of the state tax reform act “Gann two,” all special taxes like the Relief Act must be reaffirmed by 50 percent of voters every four years. 

The passage will allow the continued collection of the special tax through 2004. It also authorizes the Libraries to spend $9.7 million collected during 2000-01. 

Voters also passed Measures S and W.  

Measure S, a new special tax, passed by 74 percent. The Measure will replace the Parks Maintenance Tax that passed in 1997. 

Special taxes are designed to fund a single program and require and two-thirds majority vote for passage. They also must be reaffirmed every four years.  

The passage of Measure S will increase the Parks Maintenance tax by $15 raising the annual tax for a home of 1,900 square feet to $169 per year. 

Measure W, the reaffirmation of Parks Maintenance Tax that passed in 1997, was passed by voters at 86 percent, but will not be enacted, because it was superseded by Measure S. 

If Measure S had failed, Measure W would have become critical to the park system because it is the only funding the system receives.  

Measure R, a bond measure to repair the warm water pool for the elderly and disabled at Berkeley High also got the voters approval at 76.1 percent of the votes.