2/3 supermajority vote required
The Question: Should the City of Berkeley issue general obligation bonds not exceeding $100,000,000 to repair, renovate, replace, or reconstruct the City’s aging infrastructure and facilities, including sidewalks, storm drains, parks, streets, senior and recreation centers, and other important City facilities and buildings?
The Situation: The City of Berkeley has not maintained facilities and infrastructure to the level needed to prevent deterioration. This neglect has accrued over the past two decades and is now at a critical level. The City has an estimated $358 million (some estimate as much as $500 million) in capital and major maintenance needs, including street repaving, storm or watershed improvements, transportation, facilities improvements, and parks and waterfront improvements.
The Proposal: A $100 million general obligation 40-year bond measure is proposed for improvements to streets, sidewalks, storm drains, parks, senior and recreation centers, and other city buildings and facilities. Homeowners would pay and annual cost of about $21 per $100,000 of assessed valuation averaged over the life of the bond.
If funding is approved by the voters, staff will prioritize projects based on five factors: protecting life safety; fixing and maintaining existing infrastructure; providing communitywide benefits; promoting geographic and racial equity; providing opportunities to leverage other funding. The types of projects range from seismic improvements at senior and recreation centers to traffic safety improvements, street paving, storm water improvements, and projects at specific parks. Spending of the bond money would be monitored by the Public Works Commission and the Parks and Waterfront Commission.
Fiscal Effect: Because bond prices are at historic lows, and because the City of Berkeley has an excellent bond rating, bond borrowing costs would be low. By issuing bonds gradually, as past bonds are paid off, the City’s combined bond tax rate should not increase.
Supporters Say: Berkeley’s infrastructure needs major repair.
- Rather than incur further decay—and cost—we need to attack the problem as soon as possible.
- The bond money would be spent on the highest priority needs, based on a series of criteria.
- The process would be led by staff with oversight by the Public Works and Parks and Waterfront Commissions, which would include robust community input.
Opponents Say: No argument opposing Measure T1 was submitted.
Supporters: BerkeleyFuture.com (www.berkeleyfuture.com)
Opponents: No opposing organizations have filed.
A “Yes” vote means: The City of Berkeley will issue bonds
up to $100 million to renew parks and infrastructure.
A “No” vote means: The City of Berkeley will not issue bonds to renew parks and infrastructure.