The most critical issue today is East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Funding.
Since the defeat of the User Utility tax measure defeat in 2014, I’ve been working on funding plan for the East Contra Costa County Fire Protection (ECCFPD) district which does not involve increasing any taxes.
Creating an “Emergency Services Additional Revenue District” (ESARD) for ECCFPD will provide a permanent solution to assure a sustainable adequate level of emergency services indefinitely. The legislation required will leave the cities of Antioch, Brentwood and Oakley tax revenues unchanged though with some consideration to annexing unincorporated land is needed.
School districts will only be affected for the increased taxes from taxable properties on unincorporated land, which can be considered as with cities, but for different reasons.
The legislation will create an “Emergency Services Additional Revenue District” (ESARD) overseen by a board including Two Contra Costa County Supervisors from District 3 and 5. One or two directors of the soon-to-be created ECCFPD elected board. One or more elected trustees from the school districts. Two representatives from the Contra Costa Central Labor Council. A representative of the county schools superintendent. One community college trustee and one at large public member. These directors’ terms would be four-year terms and be staggered to assure continuity.
The territory of the ESARD will be all unincorporated land in the ECCFPD. As happened under redevelopment, the distribution of the 1% Prop 13 tax will continue as in the past BUT all future increased tax collections would be diverted to ESARD.
The ESARD Board would permanently allocate to ECCFPD all increased tax collections with no future recovery as needed to assure “enough” funding to meet the “level of service” set by the ESARD Board as part of an approved up to 50-year plan to reach “adequate” funding just from increased tax collections as specified in the legislation. Should the ESARD Board allocation of taxes be less than necessary to assure “enough” funding to meet the aforementioned “level of service” set by the ESARD Board, the Board will use the procedure established in the legislation to borrow an amount from the California Treasurer to meet that “level of service.” The legislation will set the recordkeeping for and repayment of those loans as shown in the aforementioned 50-year plan.
The legislation will provide for changes in the allocation of increased taxes collected by the ESARD to be allocated to the appropriate agencies when tax collections are sufficiently high on a sustainable basis to assure an “adequate” “level of service” for ECCFPD.
Oakley residents deserve a community college campus within a reasonable distance. The extension campus planned to move from the Brentwood Center to the Trilogy Retirement Resort Spa will create a transportation nightmare. Having poor traffic and public transportation access, located up against open spaces with a high fire danger, a young demographic in extreme proximity to senior housing, presents many difficult problems. Relocating that extension to the future BART station at Mokelumne Trails and combining it with the BART station facility makes far more sense. No traffic issues, readily available parking, security, trains and buses.
I am in favor of a return to California’s Master Plan for Higher Education and will work with City, County, State, Federal, University, local college and local groups to create a return to home town education and career pathway.
Business and Careers
I am in favor of promoting relationships with local Universities, colleges and research centers and the Chamber of Commerce to bring in locally owned high tech and light industry. I am in favor of working with the Chamber of Commerce on fee and tax breaks for small business development and retention.
I believe the DuPont property may be developed as a light industrial and high-tech business park. A power plant or battery power station would rapidly bring in revenue to the city and provide living wage careers. A 500 MW battery power station has fewer regulations and environmental issues than a regular fossil fuel plant. It would collect and distribute without brownouts and even help prevent power outages. It would also be the collection point for all local area renewable energy.
We need to foster local small business by providing incentives to help equal the playing field with larger corporations. For example: we need to make it so our local solar installation and service can compete with larger corporations participating in the HERO and PACE programs.
Population Growth, Affordable Housing and Gentrification
We must ensure that there is a balance between growth, the cost of housing for our seniors and lower income families. To control gentrification we need a strong and effective policy which includes community benefit agreements. Community benefit agreement should include urban farming, libraries, parks, bike and multi-use trails, walkability and more.
Our seniors and low-income families are subject to rent increases beyond their financial capabilities. We must make sure that not only do we provide the zoning mandated by state law, but ensure an active role between property owners, the City and residents to ensure an adequate and affordable inventory of housing is available.
To help mitigate rising rents and housing costs and stem gentrification, living wage careers must be locally available. The shorter the distance to jobs, the more revenue stays in the community, the less wear and tear on our transportation infrastructure there will be. And the happier our residents will be.