On Monday, August 1st, the Pleasant Hill City Council voted unanimously to place a revenue measure on the November 2016 ballot to provide locally controlled funding for consideration by voters. If approved, the measure would enact a ½ cent transactions & use tax (or sales tax) for 20 years, allowing the City to address key infrastructure and service priorities that Pleasant Hill residents have indicated are important. The measure would generate an estimated $4 million in additional annual revenue for the City – money that could not legally be taken by the State or other agencies.
“Residents are very interested in providing local funds for local needs” said Mayor Sue Noack. “It’s obvious from people who spoke at our City Council meeting and from those who responded to our community surveys that they want to fix our deteriorating neighborhood streets, repair our storm drains and build a new, modern library. And they will have an opportunity to use their voice again this November.”
Over the past 10 years, the State has taken over $20 million from Pleasant Hill. These State takeaways, and the economic recession, resulted in the City deferring critically needed maintenance and upgrades on neighborhoods streets, sidewalks and storm drains. The recently adopted 5-year Capital Improvement Plan identified over $42 million in unfunded infrastructure needs, as well as $15 million in deferred street maintenance and $9 million in backlogged storm drain system needs.
Pleasant Hill Library is now 55 years old and has numerous physical constraints and significant structural issues including seismic and ADA compliance issues, a leaky roof, asbestos in the ceilings and walls, no sprinkler system for fire suppression and inadequate HVAC. The Pleasant Hill Library Task Force has determined that a new library is needed to satisfy the community’s current needs for large programming spaces and 21st century learning facilities.
Beginning in April of this year, the City of Pleasant Hill initiated a community poll and a robust public outreach program to determine interest in services, and found that community priorities aligned with enhancing infrastructure needs and providing a new library for the community. Enacting locally-controlled funding would allow the City to address these issues and maintain quality of life services with funding that cannot be taken by the State.
Pleasant Hill prides itself on its prudent and transparent budgetary practices and has incorporated financial accountability provisions within the proposed measure including mandatory financial audits and reports to the community. The measure would also establish a Citizens’ Oversight Committee to ensure that all voter-approved funds will be spent appropriately.
If approved by the voters at the November General Election, the sales tax would take effect April 1, 2017.