Contra Costa County voters are among those set to weigh in on a Bay Area-wide measure on the June ballot that would impose a parcel tax over the next 20 years to raise funds for shoreline improvement projects.
The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, a governing body established in 2008 to allocate resources for preserving the Bay's natural resources, voted last Wednesday to put the measure on the June 7 ballot, according to supporters.
The measure would impose a $12 parcel tax from 2017 until 2037 for every property owner in the nine-county Bay Area. The "Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure" would need two-thirds approval of voters in all nine counties: Contra Costa, Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma.
Exactly what projects the roughly $500 million the tax is expected to raise would fund remains unclear and would be at the discretion of the restoration authority.
The large slate of projects would include restoring wetlands and habitats for marine wildlife, trash and pollution cleanup, adding and expanding recreational activities like hiking trails and parks, and shoring up areas at risk of flooding.
Half of the funding would be allocated according to the population of the area, so for example the more heavily populated shorelines of the East Bay would potentially receive more funding than the more sparsely populated areas of the North Bay. The authority also hopes to attract other sources of funding to supplement the tax revenue.
Supporters said they gathered more than 11,000 signatures in favor of the measure online. In addition to various environmental groups in favor of it, business groups and local politicians have also advocated its passage.
"The San Francisco Bay is our region's defining feature, and this measure is an historic opportunity to leave the Bay better off for our children and grandchildren," Bay Area Council business association CEO Jim Wunderman said in a statement.
"By acting now to restore our wetlands, we can improve the Bay ecosystem for fish and wildlife while protecting huge portions of the Bay shoreline from storm surges and rising seas," Wunderman said.
Among the elected officials in favor of the measure are the mayors of the region's three largest cities: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
"It may bear our city's name, but the San Francisco Bay is the shared treasure of all 7 million Bay Area residents," Lee said in a statement. "This measure is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the entire Bay Area to come together to support something that will touch each of our lives -- a cleaner, healthier and safer San Francisco Bay."