Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Jul 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Supervisor Ellen Pirie

ellen pirie2You have voiced disappointment that the county’s $10 road tax did not make it onto the November ballot. Why did you hope it would go to a vote, and what do you believe the impact will be now that such a tax is postponed indefinitely?

The vote of the [Santa Cruz County] Regional Transportation Commission not to put the $10 vehicle fee on the ballot in November was a very close vote. Five commissioners wanted to put it on the ballot but six did not believe it was the right thing to do.

I voted to put it on the ballot because our roads are deteriorating and the cities and county do not have the money to fix them and also meet all our other responsibilities. Local governments are in a situation where there is simply not enough money in their coffers to keep up with the needs and perform the services mandated by the state and federal governments.  When local governments fail to meet their responsibilities, they leave themselves vulnerable to lawsuits and penalties. And of course when local governments lose lawsuits and other claims, payment comes from local taxes and other funds that could have been used to meet local needs.

Those of us who drive cars or ride bikes on county roads know that many of them are in bad shape. I often hear from constituents who are unhappy about the condition of a particular road. I think that most people understand that the local governments need more money that is reserved for the repair and maintenance of local streets and roads. They would like to be given the opportunity to vote on whether to raise taxes for that purpose. I also would have liked to give the public the opportunity to vote on this issue.

However, I also understand the reasoning of those commissioners who voted against putting the issue on the ballot. First, it would cost in the neighborhood of $200,000 to put it on the ballot. That would have to be paid with Regional Transportation Commission public funds whether it passed or not. 

And second, ballot measures usually require a campaign in support of the measure. The public agencies like the RTC and the county cannot use public money to advocate for or against a ballot measure. Therefore a private party or group would have to financially support such a campaign. There didn’t seem to be any such person or group willing to do that, and anti-tax groups, such as the Senior Coalition, threatened to oppose it.

Even without such a campaign I would have supported giving the public the opportunity to vote on the issue. The amount was so small ($10 per registered vehicle) that I think it is likely that it would have passed without much of a campaign.
The only drawback that I saw was the possibility of people expecting more for that $10 a year than could actually be delivered. The fee would have raised approximately $2 million a year—all of it, except minimal administrative costs, dedicated to road repair. That sounds like a lot of money but roadwork is very expensive. The county needs roughly $100 million to bring all its roads and bridges into good condition. 

Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by Don Honda, August 24, 2012
The particular initiative promoted by our local RTC gives a wide variance for those agencies receiving these funds to not use any of the funds for road maintenance, but as they see fit. Thus, at least 20% of this collected fee would not have gone towards road maintenance with the possibility that 100% of the collected fees would have be used for non-road maintenance projects. The language was vague and open-ended as to the purpose of the monies charged.
...
written by Don Honda, August 24, 2012
Ellen Pirie's statement is a bit misleading.

The $10 DMV proposed initiative was based on SB 83 (2009). It stipulates that not more than 5% be used for administrative costs. However, this 5% does not include the cost of initial programming and set-up costs which must be borne by the county. Also, it stipulates that at LEAST 15% of fees collected be used for NON-road maintenance projects: pedestrian, disabled, and cycling improvements.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food