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May 2, 2017 — Special Mail Ballot Election
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Special District

County Service Area 16 Greenbrae Service Area
Measure A - 2/3 Approval Required

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Shall the special tax for maintenance and improvements to landscaped medians levied annually upon each improved parcel located within County Service Area #16 (Greenbrae), be increased from $150 per year to $300 per year per improved parcel within that area commencing with the 2017-2018 fiscal year?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Summary

Marin County Elections Department

COUNTY COUNSEL’S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE A

COUNTY SERVICE AREA #16 (GREENBRAE) SPECIAL TAX

This Measure, if approved by two-thirds of those voting thereon, would authorize County Service Area #16 to levy a special tax of $300 per year on each improved parcel of real property beginning in fiscal year 2017/2018. This Measure replaces and increases by $150 the special tax authorized by voters as Measure G in November 1993. The proceeds of the tax will be used for the maintenance, improvement, routine management and oversight of parks and landscaped medians within County Service Area #16. This Measure was placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Marin.

s/BRIAN E. WASHINGTON
County Counsel

By s/Valorie R. Boughey, Deputy County Counsel

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE A

Measure A seeks to increase (from $150 to $300) the annual parcel tax we pay to County Service Area #16 (“CSA 16”). The tax has not increased since 1993, but maintenance costs have increased significantly. Without an increase, limited funds are available for capital improvements. We urge you to vote in favor Measure A to ensure continued improvement of Greenbrae’s beauty and home values for years to come.

— JACK VALINOTI President, Greenbrae Property Owners Association

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE A

Measure A seeks to increase (from $150 to $300) the annual parcel tax we pay to County Service Area #16 (“CSA 16”). The tax has not increased since 1993, but maintenance costs have increased significantly. Without an increase, limited funds are available for capital improvements. We urge you to vote in favor Measure A to ensure continued improvement of Greenbrae’s beauty and home values for years to come.

Greenbrae’s heritage trees, beautifully landscaped and maintained entrances, a mile-long frontage on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, parks, medians, and wide boulevards are rarities in Marin. The CSA 16 parcel tax is the sole source of funds to pay for all maintenance and improvements to these common landscape areas.

The CSA 16 Advisory Board, comprised of Greenbrae residents, makes recommendations to the County regarding priorities and funding allocations for maintenance and capital improvements. Many common areas such as Greenbrae’s entrances were upgraded over the past 25 years, but many still need attention and refreshing. Major projects planned for the next several years include improvements to medians on Via Navarro, Via Barranca, and Via Cheparro, entrances at Eliseo and La Cuesta, and islands on Los Cerros and Via La Cumbre.

In 1993, maintenance costs used approximately 50% of the funds with the remainder being available for capital improvements. Last fiscal year approximately 85% of the funds went to maintain existing landscaping. Limited annual funds now accumulate for capital improvements.

Greenbrae’s green spaces need capital improvements. Our entrances, frontage, medians, and parks are major assets that provide benefits and enjoyment to all residents. Our home values have tripled over the past 25 years. Our community’s landscaping reflects our dedication to the unique, beautiful place where we live. We strongly support raising the CSA 16 tax to $300. Please join us in supporting Measure A.

s/ JACK VALINOTI
President, Greenbrae Property Owners Association

s/ SCOTT SHERMAN
Chairman, Greenbrae Property Owners Association’s Landscaping Committee, and Board Member, Greenbrae Property Owners Association

s/ GREG SHAUGHNESSY
Former Chairman, Vice-Chairman, CSA 16 Advisory Board, and Past President of the Greenbrae Property Owners Association

s/ RON PELUSO
Chairman, CSA 16 Advisory Board, and Former Board Member, Greenbrae Property Owners Association

— RON PIMENTEL SR Greenbrae Resident

Arguments AGAINST

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE A

I am opposed to CSA-16 increasing the present landscaping tax from $150 to $300 per year.

Why double the tax? No financial analysis or budget projections have been provided to voters to justify so large an increase. Nor did the proponents show that they had looked into less expensive alternatives.

I also object to this measure being brought before voters via a Vote-by-Mail Special Election. This typically guarantees low voter turnout, which may favor a measure’s boosters.

The notification to voters was also poorly executed. There were only 3 business days between the formal announcement of this ballot measure and the deadline for filing voter pamphlet Statements Against it. This does not leave much time for potential opponents to research the matter.

If CSA-16 wants twice as much money, it should document to voters the needs and costs and give proper notice.

Vote NO on Measure A.

s/ RON PIMENTEL SR
Greenbrae Resident

— RON PIMENTEL SR Greenbrae Resident

Replies to Arguments FOR

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE A

The Arguments in Favor of Measure A don’t justify doubling the annual landscaping tax.

Proponents state that landscaping maintenance costs consume 85% of revenue, leaving little for capital projects. Their figure is incorrect. Last year, maintenance consumed only 54% of the $270,018 revenue. That should leave plenty for projects if staged prudently over time.

How prudent is CSA-16’s fiscal management? A sudden 2015-2017 surge in capital projects, totaling over $400,000, drained the cash balance. Were all these projects truly urgent? Could these outlays, or maintenance costs, have been reduced via competitive bids or better planning?

Is our money well spent? Measure A proponents point to projects already completed, including recent fencing and plantings along the mile-long Sir Francis Drake frontage. How do Greenbrae residents benefit? And will this investment suffer from Marin County’s plan to reconstruct SFD?

Proponents cite the need to spend on new projects, such as redoing Eliseo and La Cuesta entrances. The SFD Rehabilitation Project will reconfigure both intersections but won’t pay to for replacing the landscaped islands. How much will that cost? Why should WE have to pay?

CSA-16 funds multiple layers of administration, design, and oversight. During 2015-17, consultant spending will exceed $95,000. Why?

Proponents suggest landscaping taxes increase our property values. Home prices are up across the county. Greenbrae’s premium is because of Bacich School. Having a home’s value increase doesn’t provide income to pay more tax.

Vote NO. Start to get control of taxes

 

— RON PIMENTEL SR Greenbrae Resident

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE A

The Advisory Board (“AB”) of County Service Area #16 (“CSA 16”) decided to recommend an increase in the parcel tax after the CSA 16 AB and other well-qualified volunteer members of the Greenbrae community conducted a lengthy and detailed review of the current and proposed budgets and the revenue the tax generates. In late 2015, the County of Marin advised the CSA 16 AB that, based on the fiscal year 2016-2017 funding and expenses and planned landscape capital improvement projects, at the end of the year there would not be adequate funds to finance future landscape improvements. The question was not whether to increase the assessment – the only issue was the amount of the increase.

The GPOA, CSA 16 AB, and County engaged Greenbrae homeowners in the process of deciding on the amount of the increase. Members of the CSA 16 AB and the County met numerous times before recommending a $150 increase, which the GPOA endorsed. The GPOA sought community input through its email list and on NextDoor, and provided CSA 16 AB’s detailed financial analyses of the budgets and the impact of different increases. Greenbrae homeowners were invited to attend CSA 16 AB meetings. The community substantially supported the $150 increase.

Given the financial needs and timing, the County recommended a mail in ballot.

 

The tax began in 1971 and was last increased from $75 to $150 in 1993. After 24 years, the financial reality is that the tax must be increased from $150 to $300.

s/ JACK VALINOTI
President, Greenbrae Property Owners Association

s/ SCOTT SHERMAN
Chairman, Greenbrae Property Owners Association’s Landscaping Committee, and Board Member, Greenbrae Property Owners Association

s/ GREG SHAUGHNESSY
Former Chairman, Vice-Chairman, CSA 16 Advisory Board, and Past President of the Greenbrae Property Owners Association

s/ RON PELUSO
Chairman, CSA 16 Advisory Board, and Former Board Member, Greenbrae Property Owners Association

— RON PIMENTEL SR Greenbrae Resident

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

FULL TEXT OF MEASURE A

RESOLUTION NO. 2017-04

RESOLUTION OF THE MARIN COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS CALLING FOR ELECTION TO INCREASE A SPECIAL TAX FOR MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENTS OF LANDSCAPED MEDIANS IN COUNTY SERVICE AREA #16 – GREENBRAE

WHEREAS, County Service Area #16 (CSA 16) is a service area in the City of Larkspur and unincorporated territory of the County of Marin, known generally as Greenbrae; and,

WHEREAS, the County currently receives approximately $270,000 in annual revenue from CSA 16 in ad valorem and special tax revenue to cover annual operating expenses for park and landscaped median maintenance, and routine daily management and oversight three miles of landscaped median in CSA 16, Greenbrae; and,

WHEREAS, the current annual revenue is insufficient to properly maintain and improve these aging landscapes, and the CSA 16 Advisory Board has identified long-term maintenance objectives and capital improvements necessary to preserve and protect the character of Greenbrae; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to California Government Code sections 25215.2 and 50075 et. seq., the Board of Supervisors may levy special taxes on all taxpayers or all real property with a County Service Area, after holding an election to approve the levy; and,

WHEREAS, the CSA 16 Advisory Board proposes increasing the existing special tax from $150 per year per improved parcel to $300 per year per improved parcel to fund these maintenance obligations and improvements; and,

WHEREAS, a hearing before the Board of Supervisors was conducted on January 10, 2017, and public comment was received.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the following:

The Marin County Board of Supervisors hereby calls for an election for County Service Area #16 by mail ballot to be held on May 02, 2017 to increase a special tax for funding. Upon approval by two-thirds of the voters the additional special tax shall be levied on improved parcels beginning in fiscal year 2017/2018. An improved parcel is defined as a parcel that is single family residential-improved, attached single family residential-improved, multiple family residential-improved, or commercial-improved.

The wording of the ballot shall be as follows:

Shall the special tax for maintenance and improvements to landscaped medians levied annually upon each improved parcel located within County Service Area #16 (Greenbrae), be increased from $150 per year to $300 per year per improved parcel within that area commencing with the 2017-2018 fiscal year?

PASSED AND ADOPTED at a regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Marin held on this 10th day of January, 2017, by the following vote:

AYES:
SUPERVISORS
Dennis Rodoni
Katie Rice
Kathrin Sears
Damon Connolly
Judy Arnold

NOES: NONE

ABSENT: NONE

By s/
JUDY ARNOLD
PRESIDENT, BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

ATTEST:
s/ MATTHEW HYMEL
CLERK

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