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  • Supervisors will consider whether to ask voters for road repair bond if sales tax vote fails at June 19 meeting

    Jun 15, 2018 | Read More News
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    District 2 Supervisor Ramón Valadez wants the Board of Supervisors at its June 19 meeting to consider whether to submit a road repair bond to voters this November. The bond election discussion would only be necessary if the board doesn’t enact a half-cent sales tax to fund road repairs, which also is on the June 19 agenda. The sales tax vote requires a unanimous vote of the board. 

    In response to Supervisor Valadez’s request, County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry today sent Supervisors a detailed memo explaining the possible options for a bond election. In the memo, he told board members that if the board fails to achieve a unanimous vote on the sales tax repair plan, and also turns down a bond election, the county will be out of Road workreasonable options for funding a comprehensive road repair plan that repairs all of the unincorporated county roads in 10 years (see attached memo for explanation). 

    The memo provides two funding scenarios: 
    • A $430 million bond that would not increase the county’s debt repayment secondary property tax, currently at 69 cents per $100 of net assessed value, and would be repaid within 10 years.
    • An $860 million bond that would not increase the county’s debt repayment secondary property tax and would be paid off in 15 years. 
    The $860 million option provides the funds needed for the 10-year Road Repair Plan drafted by the county’s Department of Transportation as part of the half-cent sales tax proposal. That plan would remain the same for the bond plan. As with the sales tax plan, the county would distribute proceeds from the bond to cities and towns based on a combination of assessed value and population of each, to be used for road repair only. 

    The $430 million proposal would provide initial funding for the 10-year Road Repair plan, but would require an additional funding solution in the future from the state Legislature, or through possible reauthorization of the Regional Transportation Authority half-cent sales tax (which also requires voter approval). Or, the board and voters could decide to hold another bond election to fund the remainder of the plan. 
    The 10-year Road Repair Plan as currently drafted would repair the worst rated unincorporated county roads in the early years. 
    If voters approve a road repair bond in November, they unusually could be voting for a property tax decrease, since an existing road repair primary property tax rate of 25 cents per $100 of assessed value would likely be repealed by the board.

    The board adopted the special road repair tax last year to create interim funding for road repair until a more comprehensive funding source could be found. The 25-cent tax rate raises about $20 million a year and is distributed among the county’s jurisdictions by an assessed property value ratio. For the unincorporated county, the tax provides just over $8 million, which is only about a third of what the county’s Department of Transportation estimates is needed to repair all of the unincorporated county’s roads within 10 years plus maintain all of the repaired roads over that period so they don’t fall back into disrepair. County DOT estimates about 70 percent of the unincorporated county’s roads are rated as poor or failed. 

    The Administrator’s memo asks the board for direction on:
    • Whether staff should prepare the necessary documents for holding a bond election, and at which amount?
    • When the board wants to vote on calling for the election, the regularly scheduled July 3 meeting or a special meeting held before July 10 (later than that could prevent the issue from being included on the November ballot)
    • Whether the board will repeal the 25-cent road repair tax rate if voters approve the bonds
    • Directing staff to schedule a meeting of the county’s Bond Advisory Committee to review the proposal as required by County code, and to update the Transportation Advisory Committee.