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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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County

Santa Cruz County
Measure H - 2/3 Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Failing

64,298 votes yes (55.39%)

51,783 votes no (44.61%)

To provide affordable local housing for working families and vulnerable populations including veterans, seniors, low- and moderate-income households, persons with disabilities, homeless individuals and families; and supportive housing for individuals suffering from mental health illnesses or substance use disorders; shall the County of Santa Cruz issue up to $140,000,000 in general obligation bonds, with an estimated levy of $16.77 per $100,000 of assessed valuation, generating approximately $8,600,000 annually through maturity, subject to independent citizen oversight and regular audits?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Dana McRae, County Counsel, County of Santa Cruz

This measure seeks voter approval to authorize the County of Santa Cruz (“County”) to issue and sell up to $140,000,000 in general obligation bonds, in one or more series, at an interest rate not to exceed twelve percent per annum.  The purpose of the bonds is to raise funds for the acquisition or improvement of real property in order to provide affordable housing for populations that face challenges securing stable housing.  People eligible for this housing include veterans, seniors, persons with disabilities, persons experiencing homelessness, persons with mental health illnesses or substance use disorders and persons with low and very low incomes.  A portion of the proceeds will also be available for low and middle-income persons to purchase homes.  The proceeds from the sale of the bonds may only be spent as described in the full text of Measure H which is printed in this pamphlet and not for any other purpose.

Measure H, if approved, would authorize an increase in the property tax rate in order to pay debt service on the bonds.  The property tax increase would be based on assessed value, not market value.  The best estimate of the average annual tax rate that would be required to fund the bond issue over the duration of the debt service is $12.21 per $100,000 of assessed value.  The best estimate of the highest annual tax rate that would be required to fund the bond issue over the duration of the debt service is $16.77 per $100,000 of assessed value.  The Tax Rate Statement printed in this pamphlet describes the tax rate in more detail.   

In accordance with State law, the County would carry out accountability measures.  If the measure is approved, the proceeds of the bonds must be deposited in a special account created by the County.  The County must ensure that an annual report is prepared describing the amount of funds collected and expended, and the status of any project required or authorized to be funded by the bond proceeds.  An Oversight Committee including citizen representatives will review the annual report each year to ensure fiscal accountability.  An independent, external auditor will review the County’s spending of bond proceeds to further ensure fiscal accountability.

Pursuant to California law, this measure will become effective upon the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the qualified voters voting on this measure.  Approval of this measure will also constitute approval of the provision of up to 1,041 units of affordable housing as required by Article XXXIV of the California Constitution.   

This measure was placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Cruz.  

A “yes” vote on Measure H is a vote to authorize the issuance and sale of up to $140,000,000 in general obligation bonds in order to provide affordable housing, to be secured by property taxes on property located within the County.

A “no” vote on Measure H is a vote to not authorize the issuance and sale of general obligation bonds.               

Tax rate

Edith Driscoll, County Auditor-Controller Treasurer-Tax Collector

An election will be held in the County of Santa Cruz, State of California (the "County") on November 6, 2018, to authorize the sale of not to exceed $140,000,000 in general obligation bonds of the County to mitigate the housing crisis by providing affordable local housing for working families and vulnerable populations including veterans, seniors, low- and moderate- income households, persons with disabilities, homeless individuals and families; and supportive housing for individuals suffering from mental health illnesses or substance use disorders. If the bonds are approved, the County expects to sell the bonds in two series over time. Principal and interest on the bonds will be payable from the proceeds of taxes levied upon taxable property in the County. The following information is provided in compliance with Section 9400-9404 of the Elections Code of the State of California.

  1. The best estimate from official sources of the average annual tax rate that would be required to be levied to fund that bond issue over the entire duration of the bond debt service, based on assessed valuations available at the time of the election or a projection based on experience within the same jurisdiction or other demonstrable factors, is $0.01221 per $100 ($12.21 per $100,000) of assessed valuation. The best estimate of the final fiscal year in which the tax is anticipated to be collected is fiscal year 2055-56.
  2. The best estimate from official sources of the highest tax rate that would be required to be levied to fund the bonds issued, based on assessed valuations available at the time of the election or a projection based on experience within the same jurisdiction or other demonstrable factors, is $0.01677 per $100 ($16.77 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.  The best estimate of the year in which the highest tax rate will apply is 2026-27.
  3. The best estimate from official sources of the total debt service, including the principal and interest, that would be required to be repaid if all the bonds are issued and sold, is approximately $273,768,000.

Voters should note the estimated tax rate is based on the assessed value (not market value) of taxable property on the County’s official tax rolls.  In addition, taxpayers eligible for a property tax exemption, such as the homeowner’s exemption, will be taxed at a lower effective tax rate than described above.  Property owners should consult their own property tax bills and tax advisors to determine their property’s assessed value and any applicable tax exemptions.

The attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information is based upon projections and estimates only, which amounts are not maximum amounts and are not binding upon the County.  The actual debt service, tax rates and the years in which they will apply may vary from those used to provide the estimates set forth above, due to factors such as variations in the timing of bond sales, the par amount of bonds sold and market interest rates available at the time of each sale, actual assessed valuations over the term of the bonds, and other factors.  The date and amount of bonds sold at any given time will be determined by the County based on the need for project funds and other considerations.  The actual interest rates at which the bonds will be sold will depend on conditions in the bond market at the time of sale.  Actual future assessed valuations will depend upon the amount and value of taxable property within the County as determined by the County Assessor in the annual assessment and the equalization process.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

The affordable housing crisis directly affects all of us in Santa Cruz County. It’s driving out many longtime local residents and preventing many young families from owning a home.

Hardworking local teachers, service workers, farmworkers – and those who are working two jobs to make ends meet – are falling farther and farther behind. The local housing market continues to outpace any increase in income for too many of our neighbors.

Some are leaving the county. Some have become homeless. When that happens – our community suffers.

We all know someone impacted: friends, family, co-workers, neighbors – or ourselves.

Measure H will provide funds directly to local communities – Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Capitola, Scotts Valley and the unincorporated County – to create more affordable housing opportunities.

Measure H will:

  • Provide down payment assistance for local first-time homebuyers like teachers, service workers and firefighters so families can afford to buy and stay here.
  • Make affordable housing with supportive services available to our most vulnerable community members including seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans, and those suffering from homelessness and mental illness.
  • Help agricultural and other employers who have problems hiring due to a severe shortage of affordable workforce and farmworker housing. Ensuring workers can find affordable homes helps sustain our local economy.

Measure H has tough fiscal controls including an independent citizens’ oversight committee to assure the funds are spent properly.

Measure H would be part of the Low Income Senior Property Tax Postponement Program; preventing any current tax burden on those who can least afford it.

Nearly two years in the making, Measure H comes from nearly one hundred local residents collaborating throughout our community to create a plan to make Santa Cruz County more affordable. 

Business, labor, affordable housing advocates, environmentalists, farmers, homeowners and renters all agree on the importance of passing Measure H.

Please join us in Voting Yes on Measure H.

Visit www.affordablehousingscc.org

Michael Watkins
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools

Raymon Cancino
Chief Executive Officer, Meals on Wheels and Lift Line, Programs of Community Bridges

Katherine Beiers
Former Mayor of Santa Cruz

Thomas Broz
Organic Farmer/County Farm Bureau President

Keisha Frost
Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Santa Cruz County

Arguments AGAINST

We urge a NO vote on the $140 million “Affordable Housing Bond, Measure H.”  This is projected to cost all Santa Cruz County real property owners in principal plus interest a total of $273,768,000 for 35 years, until 2055-56.

It is NOT justified to impose added Measure H indebtedness – to get affordable housing funds – that can be obtained by the better alternative of simply increasing Sales Taxes County-wide.

Proposed housing will ONLY be in incorporated cities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos, Scotts Valley and Watsonville.  IT IS UNFAIR FOR RURAL RESIDENTS TO SUBSIDIZE CITY DWELLERS.

This bond provides “No Tax Exemption for Seniors” our most vulnerable population.  Increasing parcel taxes forces-out home owners and businesses.  Property owners already pay an additional 10 taxes including measures/bonds, for library facilities and parks – increasing property taxes to thousands of dollars per year.

The California legislature proposed a new State wide November ballot measure to allocate $3 billion for cities, counties, and non-profits to build housing, help homeless, and low-income families at risk.  The Governor signed 15 housing bills providing funding for low-income housing development and shelter for the homeless.  In addition the CA legislature placed two affordable housing bonds, on the November ballot.

It is not fair to impose this added and excessive $273,768,000 million Measure H, indebtedness upon real property owners—when the outcome of the November election on these other affordable housing bonds have not yet been determined.

Please Vote NO on Measure H – this is not the smart and balanced answer to solving affordable housing in Santa Cruz County.

Colonel Michael “Terry” Maxwell
Retired Military Officer/Soquel

Carmen Bernal
Senior/Capitola

Beverly Costello
Homeowner/Santa Cruz

Kris A. Kirby
Business Owner/Aptos

 

Replies to Arguments FOR

Rebuttal to Argument for Measure H

 

We can’t make more affordable housing by putting a tax on housing

  • If Measure H passes more long time local residents will leave because of higher taxes. This new tax would make housing even more unaffordable for families struggling to pay housing costs in our County.
     
  • Measure H is yet another bond measure for 35 years. This tax would cost $273,768,000 with interest.
     
  • Measure H does not exempt seniors. The Property Tax Postponement Program costs 7% per year if someone can even qualify.
     
  • Measure H would amount to a lottery for first-time homebuyers, with all of us paying higher property taxes so a few can benefit.  
     
  • Prop 1 is the state housing bond on the November ballot.  If it passes Santa Cruz County’s per capita share would be 0.7% or $21,000,000.  Measure H is far in excess of what the County would need to qualify for state matching funds. 
     
  • Measure H monies would be administered by the County and four cities with nebulous plans and uncertain administrative expenses. 
     
  • The County currently allows developers to pay a fee instead of actually building affordable housing as required by Measure J. Passed by the voters, Measure J required developers to build 15% of units for affordable housing.

 Please Vote No on Measure H

Becky R. Steinbruner
Active Citizen and Resident/Aptos

Bruce Holloway
Retired Computer Engineer/Boulder Creek

John O’Reilly
Senior Homeowner Retired/Ben Lomond

Mark D. Lee
Retired Urban Planner/Ben Lomond

Lynn Dunn
Retired Director of Corporation for National Service/Santa Cruz

 

 

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Rebuttal to Argument Against Measure H

With the housing crisis raging, Measure H provides real solutions for people living and working here in Santa Cruz County. To protect the integrity of our community, we can’t simply do nothing. 

Measure H is well-crafted to provide fair and equitable housing solutions to our friends and neighbors who are struggling across Santa Cruz County – in the cities and unincorporated areas.

Don’t let opponents confuse you about Measure H does and doesn’t do.

Measure H helps Santa Cruz County invest in our communities, helping farmworkers, first responders, teachers and healthcare workers. If our local workers cannot afford to live in the county, we all suffer.

It provides first time homebuyer funds for families living throughout the county, including unincorporated and rural areas.  It also allows affordable backyard “granny” cottages to be built appropriately in all corners of our county.

Statewide measures are indeed part of the solution. The state directs dollars to help local communities – but those funds almost always flow to counties that have local housing matching funds. 

Without affordable housing funds from Measure H, Santa Cruz County won’t get its fair share from the state.

Measure H will bring relief for lower-income seniors by creating low-cost affordable homes for seniors. Many seniors will also qualify for the Low Income Senior Property Tax Deferral Program.

 Measure H helps our most vulnerable populations cope with the crisis of affordability –

including our seniors, veterans, and families facing homelessness.

Join us in voting for a sustainable, healthy community by voting Yes on H.

Get the facts. Visit www.affordablehousingscc.org

David Foster
Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay

Suzanne McLean
Vice President, Association of Faith Communities

MariaElena De La Garza
Executive Director, Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County

Mark Stone
State Assemblymember

Casey Beyer
CEO, Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce

 

Read the proposed legislation

Proposed legislation

BOND AUTHORIZATION

The Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Cruz recognizes the existence of a housing crisis in Santa Cruz County: The rising costs of home ownership and the increasing cost of rental units throughout the county have resulted in housing insecurity and a persistently high number of homeless individuals within Santa Cruz County. The latest homeless count revealed a total of 2,250 homeless individuals in Santa Cruz County with 1,800 unsheltered.

In response to this housing crisis, the Board of Supervisors is placing a general obligation bond on the ballot to generate up to $140,000,000 to aid in the acquisition or improvement of real property in order to provide affordable local housing for working families and vulnerable populations including veterans, seniors, low- and moderate-income households, persons with disabilities, homeless individuals and families; and supportive housing for individuals suffering from mental health illnesses or substance abuse disorders. "Low-income" means households whose income does not exceed 80% of area median income. "Moderate-income" means households whose income lies in the range of 80% to 120% of area median income. The housing may be provided at below market rates.

A portion of the proceeds, not to exceed $119,000,000, with not more than $14,000,000 for first-time homebuyers, may be used to provide housing that is affordable for low- and moderate-income households; such portion may be used, by way of example only, for first-time homebuyers or to promote housing that is in proximity to employment.

Even though housing for working families and vulnerable populations is currently being built, the number of units available does not satisfy the projected demand within our community. The Board of Supervisors intends to distribute the new affordable housing units within the County and to leverage the resources acquired through this bond to attract both private and public matching funds, including from state and federal sources. Different forms of assistance for working families and vulnerable populations may be provided based on programs and spending as determined by the Board of Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors views housing as a critical need of working families and vulnerable populations, without which individuals in these populations are unlikely to achieve any level of stability. Creating and improving housing for the County's working families and vulnerable populations is consistent with the County’s vision to promote a healthy, safe and more affordable community, the County's mission to deliver quality, data-driven services that strengthen our community and enhance opportunity, and the County’s goals in the area of Attainable Housing. The County is seeking to achieve this in a cost-effective way.

Approval of this general obligation bond proposition shall constitute the approval of the provision of up to 1,041 units of affordable housing as required by Article XXXIV of the California Constitution.

ACCOUNTABILITY SAFEGUARDS

Statement of Purpose: The specific purposes of the bond are to fund the acquisition or improvement of real property in order to provide affordable local housing for working families and vulnerable populations including veterans, seniors, low- and moderate-income households, persons with disabilities, homeless individuals and families; and supportive housing for individuals suffering from mental health illnesses or substance use disorders. The proceeds of any bonds issued pursuant to this bond measure will be applied only to these specific purposes.

Special Bond Proceeds Account: The proceeds of the bonds issued pursuant to this measure shall be deposited in a special account created by the County.

Annual Report: The County will ensure that an annual report pursuant to Government Code section 53411 describing the amount of funds collected and expended, and the status of any project required or authorized to be funded, shall be filed with its governing body;

Independent Oversight Committee: An Oversight Committee including citizen representatives will be established and will review the annual report each year to ensure fiscal accountability.

Independent and External Audit: An independent, external auditor will review the County's spending of bond proceeds to ensure accountability.

 

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