Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Aug 02nd
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

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

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

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover