Danville council to consider endorsing county transportation sales tax

2016-17 town budget, drought update, lighting and landscape district assessments among other topics

The Danville Town Council is set to discuss approving a resolution Tuesday to support a new half-cent sales tax to fund transportation projects in Contra Costa County.

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority proposes to ask voters in the fall to approve a new 0.5% sales tax countywide that would remain in effect through March 2047 and is expected to generate $2.8 billion (as measured in today's dollars) for transportation improvements.

"Currently, transportation needs significantly exceed projected revenues," Andrew Dillard, town transportation manager, wrote in his staff report to the council. "The new sales tax measure is needed to keep Contra Costa County moving and to create livable and sustainable communities."

Authority officials hope to see the sales tax measure placed on the Nov. 8 ballot, where it would need support from more than two-thirds of voters to pass.

Over the life of the tax, an estimated $668 million would go to efforts in southwest Contra Costa County. More than 23% of the revenue is intended to maintain and improve local streets in the county, with an estimated $884,000 for Danville in the first full year of taxation, Dillard said.

Funds would also go toward major streets, bus transit and ferry services, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, transportation services for seniors, people with disabilities and schoolchildren.

Specific projects include commuter corridors such as Interstates 680 and 80, Highways 242 and 4, Vasco Road and the Byron Highway, as well as BART capacity increases and eBART extension to Brentwood.

The transportation expenditure plan (TEP) is "transformative on every level," Dillard wrote.

"With a strong focus on technology and innovation, the TEP will deliver a more efficient, cleaner and faster transportation system. The TEP will help reduce emissions through a higher emphasis on transit, technology and alternative modes of transportation."

"The TEP also sets forward clear policies that ensure that while communities grow, the growth is kept within clear urban boundaries," Dillard noted.

The plan would have to be approved by the county Board of Supervisors and city and town councils that in aggregate represent a majority of cities and towns in the county as well as a majority of the incorporated populations.

The Danville council is set to weigh in on the expenditure plan and tax proposal Tuesday as part of its regular meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Meeting Hall at 201 Front St.

In other business

* The council will consider approving the town's 2016-17 operating budget, appropriation limit, capital projects and fee schedule for user and cost recovery fees, as well as endorsing the town's five-year capital improvement program.

The draft 2016-17 budget, recommended by town staff, estimates almost $34.7 million in revenues, including about $24.1 million in general fund revenues (an increase of 2.1%), and it calls for $31.4 million in expenditures, with almost $21.2 million in general fund expenditures.

"The town's overall financial condition continues to be excellent," Town Manager Joe Calabrigo wrote in a staff report.

"The draft 2016-17 budget continues the town's practice of providing quality municipal services that address highest priority community needs," he added. "The recommended budget is balanced while maintaining healthy operating and capital reserves"

The draft budget calls for more than $8.8 million in appropriations for capital improvement projects.

Downtown parking is a priority, with the budget including work on a new 81-space Rose Street lot, offering $1.2 million toward construction of 200 new student parking spots at San Ramon Valley High School, adding 12 spaces to the Village Theatre lot and reconfiguring parking near the intersection of Danville and El Cerro boulevards.

The budget recommends $5.82 million in regular pavement maintenance, including resurfacing Camino Tassajara westbound from the eastern town limits to Sycamore Valley Road, resurfacing San Ramon Valley Boulevard from Podva Road south to Jewell Terrace and completing $2.5 million in overlay and slurry seal work in designated neighborhoods.

Other projects include expanding the Sycamore park-and-ride lot, design work for the replacement of the La Gonda Way bridge, improvements at Osage Station Park and renovations to the front lobby, public hallway, restrooms and conference rooms at the town offices.

Staff recommends adding two full-time equivalent (FTE) employee positions to the Maintenance Services Department, which would raise overall town staffing to 94.75 FTE.

The draft budget includes an operating reserve of about $11.1 million, or 36.8% of the recommended operating budget for 2016-17. The town's 10-year budget forecast estimates total revenues increasing to $38.1 million by 2025-26.

* The council will consider levying property assessments to fund projects and activities within the Danville Street Lighting and Landscape Assessment District.

Town staff recommends no increases to assessments next fiscal year. Single-family parcels would be assessed between $108 and $305.80 depending on which benefit zones they're located in, according to maintenance services director Jed Johnson.

* John Coleman, from the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Board of Directors, will provide an update on the drought and regional water supply.

In a similar presentation to the San Ramon City Council last month, Coleman said the water supply and drought conditions for EBMUD's service areas are significantly improved compared to this time last year.

The region's watershed was at 99% of average as of April 24, with the Mokelumne River basin -- where 93% of the district's water comes from -- at 108% of average. Coleman stated that the East Bay's reservoirs were at 98%, and overall, the East Bay's water levels were 88% of average.

* Mayor Karen Stepper will present her quarterly transportation update to the council.

* The council will gather at 6:15 p.m., before the regular meeting, to conduct interviews of applicants for the town's Heritage Resource, Arts, and Parks and Leisure Services commissions as well as for a town representative on the Contra Costa County Advisory Council on Aging.

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23 people like this
Posted by Ralph Kramden
a resident of Danville
on Jun 7, 2016 at 7:49 am

No new taxes. Period. We elect/pay the politicians to determine priorities and allocate existing tax dollars to their best use -- not to vote to raise taxes every time another bright, shiny object comes into view. Take the money for roads from somewhere else in the budget if it's that important.

16 people like this
Posted by eject town council
a resident of Danville
on Jun 7, 2016 at 8:35 am

Vote NO! The money raised will be held out as a carrot to force compliance with high-density housing demands from the Assoc. Of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Danville's developer Town Council will use that carrot as an excuse --"why, we can't lose that money, so we must redesignate office, commercial, and low-density housing land for high-density housing projects." Don't be scammed!

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 7, 2016 at 7:19 pm

"The new sales tax measure is needed to keep Contra Costa County moving and to create livable and sustainable communities."

9 people like this
Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Jun 8, 2016 at 8:26 am

This is yet another example of why we need term limits on the Town Council. It is like being a Federal Judge, or the Pope, when you get elected to the Danville Town Council, you have that position as long as you want it. They all endorse each other, and get huge donations from developers and other special interest groups, and can never be voted out of office. They simply take turns rubber stamping each other's agendas, and forget they are suppose to represent their constituents. It is time for term limits, to break up this monopoly of power, that no longer listens to the people of Danville. I suggest we start a petition to get a referendum on the ballot that would change the laws and put in place reasonable term limits for the Danville Town Council. Sound like a good idea, Danville?

4 people like this
Posted by San Ramonian
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 12, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Thank you "American", you said it well, and everything you said also applies to the San Ramon city council too.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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