Measure A campaign picks up steam
by Joe Shreve
May 08, 2014 | 2086 views | 18 18 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With the June 3 election less than a month away, supporters of Measure A — a proposed bond measure that would raise funds to rebuild the aging Scotts Valley Middle School campus — are in full campaign mode.

The measure calls for a $35 million in bonds to be issued that would be used to replace Scotts Valley Middle School's deteriorating 73-year-old campus with new, modern facilities.

The bond monies would also be used for the installation of seismic safety measures — such as wall bracing, and anti-shatter window film — to buildings at Vine Hill and Brook Knoll elementary campuses.

The official kickoff rally for the campaign was held at the Scotts Valley Community Center on Wednesday, April 30.

According to Derek Timm, campaign chairperson for the Yes on A committee, the rally drew more than 150 supporters, and raised more than $8,000.

“It was a really good turnout,” he said.

Timm said that the campaign, which has its headquarters situated in the Scotts Village shopping center, plans to phone voters Tuesdays through Thursdays during the week, and door-to-door canvassing during the weekends.

The ballot measure has enjoyed widespread support so far, Timm said.

“We have endorsements from both the Republican and Democratic parties of Santa Cruz County, we have the entire city council,” he said. “I would say the vast majority of elected leaders in town are on board.”

Scotts Valley Mayor Jim Reed, who volunteers with the campaign during his free time, said that they key to gathering support is to demonstrate the condition of the campus as it currently exists.

“If we can let people know the condition of the middle school, this will pass,” Reed said. “The teachers and programs are fantastic — and the buildings are appalling.”

Timm said that the timing of the bond measure was fortuitous, as the district would likely be able to apply for matching funds from the state that would help offset some of the locally assumed costs.

“If the bond passes, we'll be able to apply for some relief from the state — possibly even for the entire project,” Timm said. “If we don’t pass it, though, we wont be able to get on that list.”

“The message that’s so compelling for people is that there's a real belief in supporting our school district because its been so good for us as a community,” he said.

For more information, contact info@yesonasv.com or 239-9203.

Comments
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hddh
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May 29, 2014
Remember to Vote No on Measure A - this will cost taxpayers hundreds of dollars every year for over 25 years - check your tax bill. This is a significant tax increase that applies to all SV residents and property owners. It is time for school administrators to find other ways to fund this type of project rather than just implementing another financial burden on taxpayers. Taxpayers should not feel pressured or bullied to approve this just because it's a school tax. No more new taxes and No on Measure A.
Mr M
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May 25, 2014
I will vote no on this. I have no kids and do not mind paying a fair amount, but the people who have the most kids should have to pay the most.
Calvin Men
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May 15, 2014
I'm writing an article on Measure A for the Sentinel. Would like to talk to anyone opposing it. Call my office line at 831-706-3286.

--Calvin Men
Diane Sahifa
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May 15, 2014
Good luck Calvin. It's difficult to come out and speak against a school bond. To do so is to be publicly labeled anti-kids or anti-school when that is never the case.

Maybe some would vote no because of the likelihood that there is plenty of money, but much disagreement about how that money should be allocated. More money often just widens the pool of funds to be misspent.

The catch is that middle school needs upgrading. No matter how foolishly money was spent previously, there is no changing the fact that upgrades are necessary.
Support Measure A
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May 14, 2014
No one likes an additional tax, yet I fully support Measure A and believe we have little choice but to increase taxes to repair our crumbling middle school. Our schools are the foundation of our society which is why I find it very disturbing when City leaders speak out of both sides of their mouths. Dene Bustichi is our Vice Mayor and a supporter of Measure A. What you may not know is that he owes $24,227 in delinquent property taxes on his Scotts Valley property parcel # 02249115. Jim Reed our current mayor was until this past February delinquent paying his property taxes on his Scotts Valley property parcel # 02270107. Shouldn’t our Mayor and Vice Mayor pay their taxes and be fiscally responsible? We entrust them to handle the City finances. Please support measure A because it is the right thing to do despite the fact that our Mayor and Vice Mayor don’t always pay their share of property tax which if paid would help fund our schools.
Big Paco 55
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May 14, 2014
We do have a choice, Vote NO on A. We have to find different ways to raise the money to build the school. Why is it always a TAX and why only home owners and property owners that are paying. NO, this has to stop. If they are going to tax us then everyone should pay not just property owners. We are being taxed right out of the county. NO ON A!!!!!
hddh
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May 14, 2014
I do not support Measure A but I do find it interesting that Bustichi is a supporter but at the same time delinquent on his property taxes! Hmmmm, so this must mean Bustichi supports the tax but just won't pay it and as far as Reed goes if he can't pay his taxes now he probably won't care that his tax bill will be going up another $327.00 a year!
SV Ret
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May 14, 2014
Am finding this thread interesting. How did you come up with a figure of $327.00 hddh? That is more than I thought I would have to pay for this Measure. If you are correct in your numbers, I will be spreading the word to Vote NO on Measure A. I think many property owners aren't aware of actual cost that will be imposed to them.
hddh
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May 14, 2014
Simple - check your tax bill or search the SC county assessor database. Put in your pacel# or address and find your assessed value. Divide the assessed value by 100k and then multiply that figure by 57.00. That will give you the total that you will owe on top of your tax bill - (eg. 585,000 assessed value divided by 100,000 = 5.85 Then take 5.85 x 57.00 = 333.45 - your additional tax for the year). $333.45 for year one and then I can only assume that it will go up as your assessed value goes up - for the next 30 years! So as taxpayers, we will be paying for this for 30 years according to everything I have read.
Measure A support
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May 17, 2014
A few thoughts in response to several of these comments:

1) The tax will NOT increase over time if/as property values increase; in fact, it will decrease. The taxes support a BOND which has a fixed interest rate and equal annual payments. As overall assessed property values in the district go up over time (due to the sale of properties whose market values exceed their assessed value, thus re-setting their assessed value at a higher level), the portion of this annual payment due from every other existing property owner will actually decrease (a very small amount). Assessed value is used to apportion the payments between the property owners in the district, but the overall payments due from the district (as a whole) are fixed so as somebody else's assessed value goes up more than yours (due to a property sale or new development), your portion of the payment will decrease.

2. The district is looking at a 25 year (rather than 30) bond issuance. Still a long time but a bit less than 30 years and with a proportionately lower amount going towards interest rather than principal than would be the case for a longer issuance.

3. The bond must be supported by property taxes -- this is the only sufficiently stable and reliable funding source that the bond market will accept. Unlike a city or county, which can levy a sales tax, a school district has no other options to support a bond. It's a loan that must be paid back over time, and the source of those repayments must be reliable in order to qualify for the loan. Like it or not, property taxes are the only option available.

4. K-12 public education is required to be "free", by state and federal law. This precludes charging students (or families of students) for any project such as this. SV student families already pay a considerable amount in donations to fund programs that historically were, and elsewhere are, part of the core school funding -- sports, arts, music, etc. It is not practical, reasonable , or legal to try and fund this project on the back of current school attendees.

5. The district is positioning itself to qualify for state matching funds. We are hopeful that a state school construction bond measure will be placed on the Nov. 2014 or 2016 ballot. If we do qualify, the local burden could be cut by as much as 50%. But we need to have our own funding source in place in order to qualify for matching funds. So we have to pass this bond in order for the state to consider contributing to the project.

6. The measure K parcel tax ($48/year) will expire after next year, before the major tax burden associated with measure A kicks in. Measure K was intended as a short term operational funding measure to get us through the deepest part of the fiscal crisis, and it succeeded in doing so. So when calculating your additional tax burden if measure A passes, compared to your current taxes, subtract that $48. It's still an increase but reduced by that amount.

7. Although it's still a long way out, the high school bond measure (issued in 1994) expires in another 10 years. It's just a bit less than what Measure A is asking. So if Measure A passes, 10 or so years out you'll be seeing a drop in your property taxes closer to what you're paying today. It's still more, and that's 10 years out, but it's of some small consolation.

It would be so much easy to ask for support to rebuild the middle school if we didn't have to ask our neighbors for this financial sacrifice. But there is no other option -- schools in California are built only through a local bond measure or as a condition of a massive new housing development (beyond the scope of anything ever built in SV).

I am sympathetic to those who are on struggling to get by on fixed incomes or who have yet to recover from the financial meltdown; unfortunately, bond measures do not permit exemptions due to either age or hardship (because there is a commitment to meet the annual payment).

For those who are just opposed to taxation, for whatever reason, I would ask that they consider supporting the measure as either an investment that supports their property value (it will) or as a good will investment in their community. This is a genuine public interest project that can have positive impacts on everything to do with SV. It needs to be done, this is the only way to do it, and we shouldn't have to keep having this debate ever several years. Please, let's just do it!
hddh
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May 17, 2014
"Measure A Support" - you seem to playing "smoke and mirrors" with your position.

1) You mention that if "somebody else's assessed value goes up more than yours (due to a property sale or new development), your portion of the payment will decrease" - let's be realistic, that cannot have a significant impact on the reduction of our taxes unless an extreme and abnormal amount of properties are sold.

2) You reference "25 or 30 years" - that is a very long duration for a tax.

3) You state "like it or not, property taxes are the only option available" - why not private funding, grants, etc - if there is that much support surely those supporters would step up and commit to donate the monies rather than place the burden on taxpayers.

4) You acknowledge "already pay a considerable amount in donations to fund programs" - that sums it up, some families have already taken on a financial burden and will take on more, enough said.

5) You state "we are hopeful that a state school construction bond measure will be placed on the Nov. 2014 or 2016 ballot. If we do qualify, the local burden could be cut by as much as 50%" - "could be cut," not very promising, you have a lot more confidence in the state than I.

6) You mention "so when calculating your additional tax burden if measure A passes, compared to your current taxes, subtract that $48. It's still an increase but reduced by that amount" - you even acknowledge that this is an additional tax burden, does not make any sense to make it harder on the middle class and the senior community with that "additional tax burden."

7) You also state "so if Measure A passes, 10 or so years out you'll be seeing a drop in your property taxes closer to what you're paying today. It's still more, and that's 10 years out but it's of some small consolation" - smaller than you can convince me. That is an unfair statement as you cannot predict where our global and local economy will be and 10 years is a long time. Taxes do not have a history of going down.

I believe that this tax will decimate some families that are still trying to recover from our economic fall. I do not agree with your statement that this tax will "support property values". Property values in Santa Cruz County and the greater Bay Area have seen an improvement within in the last year due to a stronger economic outlook. This tax may even have an adverse effect on the local housing and rental markets because of the increased property tax rate for current and future homebuyers. I also hesitate to think that landlords may increase rents to recoup this cost.

I am hoping that taxpayers and voters understand the fiscal impact this may have on families and the overall community. I also ask that you take the time to see what the financial impact will be to you and your families over the next 25 yrs before you vote - I urge you to vote NO on Measure A.

Craig F
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May 19, 2014
Another tax increase!! We just passed a state measure (prop 38) and the local measure (K) for schools to maintain programs, skills and staff. Measure K was sold to us as a "temporary 3 year tax" BUT this is a 25 year tax! It is time for administrators to be more fiscally responsible and not place the financial burden on the citizens when they are in need of money to upgrade local schools. $57.00 per 100k of assessed value could be a significant increase for a number of people. This measure was defeated in 2008 as measure Q and six yrs later it's back on the ballot - when will it end. We as voters should not allow our taxes to be increased because it is easy and convenient for administrators - just say NO to another tax - NO on Measure A!
Big Paco 55
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May 13, 2014
Why are they trying to say that my property value will offset the cost of this TAX. They is just another "shell game". I purchased my house not to break even but to have it increase in value for retirement or to trade up. I hope that the renters in Scotts Valley will understand that they to will pay!!!! Their landlord will increase their rent to offset their loss in rent. No!!!. We can't afford another TAX!!! I understand they need to upgrade the school but they need to find another way. VOTE NO on A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
hddh
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May 14, 2014
We checked with the SC county assessors office. Our CURRENT assessed value will cost us $343.00 extra in property tax - a 6% increase! I can only assume that as our assessed value increases throughout the years this will cost even more. I would have to agree that landlords will increase rents to offset this cost thus making it harder for families to relocate to SV to send their children to a NEW school. We too understand the need for a NEW school but why ride the backs of taxpayers - has every other funding option been explored or is this just another "let's have the taxpayers pay for it" idea. This measure has failed TWICE before - are we just going to continue to put it on the ballot hoping it passes someday - I think it is time for another Vote No on Measure A!!
No New Taxes
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May 12, 2014
Again, yet another tax proposal for Scotts Valley. Measure K (schools) was recently passed along with a local sales tax increase and now taxpayers could potentially take on the burden of Measure A for 30 years. No one in SV will be exempt from this measure that will increase property taxes for 30 years. There should be another way to reach the goal of replacing the SV Middle School without a tax increase of this magnitude. If this measure passes Scotts Valley will be on its way to becoming the city with the highest tax rate. All property owners, please read your tax bill to check your assessed value to determine how much of an increase you will incur. This will cost some homeowners upwards of $400.00 or more every year for 30 yrs. Take the time to read about the costs of Measure A before you vote.
nonymouse
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May 13, 2014
Mark Rosenberg addressed this issue last month:

http://www.pressbanner.com/view/full_story/24956873/article-Talk-about-money--Property-values-and-the-Scotts-Valley-Middle-School-bond

"So, the fair question is: Will the homeowner's property value go up at least $3,470 more than it would have because of the planned school improvements?"

Mr. Rosenberg's analysis was based on a long-term homeowner's $400,000 assessed valuation. For this bond to cost $400 per year translates to an assessed valuation of $700,000 according to the voter's pamphlet. So the question is, will that property owner's value go up at least $6,070 more than it would have because of the middle school improvements?

Big Paco 55
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May 12, 2014
Vote NO!!!!!

Why are just the property owners paying for this. What about everyone that lives in Scotts Valley? Everyone that have kids going to these schools should pay.
SV Ret
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May 12, 2014
Agreed! Everyone pays a hefty price each year for over 30 years! Stop the tax bleeding. Vote NO on Measure A.


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