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Smart Voter
Contra Costa County, CA June 3, 2014 Election
Measure J
Orinda Road and Storm Drain Repair Measure
City of Orinda

Bond Measure - 2/3 Approval Required

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Tax Rate Statement | Full Text

To repair failing roads and storm drains, restore and upgrade other roadways and storm drains, fix potholes, and improve safety on Orinda public streets, shall the City of Orinda issue twenty million dollars in bonds, with financial audits, public review of all expenditures, and a citizens' oversight committee?

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
The Orinda Road and Storm Drain Repair Measure is a bond measure placed on the ballot by the Orinda City Council. If approved by Orinda voters, the Measure would authorize the City to issue and sell up to $20,000,000 in general obligation municipal bonds to help fund repairs and improvements to City roadways and storm drains. Proceeds from the sale of the bonds could only be used to pay for the roadway and storm drain infrastructure improvements described in the Measure, and certain costs associated with issuing the bonds.

California law authorizes cities to issue general obligation bonds to finance "acquisition or improvement of real property" subject to certain limitations. State law provides, for example, that a measure authorizing such bonds must be approved by at least two-thirds of the voters voting on it.

If the Measure is approved, an additional ad valorem property tax will be levied annually on all taxable property within the City to pay for the principal and interest due on the bonds. Once the bonds are repaid, this annual tax will terminate.

The Tax Rate Statement, which follows this Impartial Analysis, reflects the City's current estimate of the additional ad valorem property tax levy that would be required to repay the bonds. The Tax Rate Statement is an estimate based on currently available data and projections. The actual tax levied could be more or less than the City's estimate.

The Measure imposes certain accountability safeguards, including:

1. The Orinda Citizens' Infrastructure Oversight Commission (CIOC) would review bond expenditures and report to the public whether those proceeds are expended only for projects authorized by the voters. The CIOC, a volunteer body comprised of seven Orinda residents, was created by the City Council in 2007 to advise on infrastructure matters. CIOC meetings are noticed and open to the public consistent with State law (the Brown Act).

2. Bond proceeds would be deposited in a special fund or account.

3. The City Manager would annually prepare a public report, filed with the City Council, detailing the bond proceeds received and expended as well as the status of any project funded or to be funded from bond proceeds. This report may be incorporated into the City's annual audit and would be required as long as any bond proceeds remain unexpended.

A "Yes" vote is a vote in favor of City sale of bonds and imposition of the taxes necessary to pay for the bonds. A "No" vote is a vote against City sale of bonds and imposition of the taxes necessary to pay for the bonds.

Osa L. Wolff, City Attorney, City of Orinda

  News and Analysis

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Arguments For Measure J Arguments Against Measure J
Yes on Measure J!

Orinda's overall road condition is ranked as one of the worst in the Bay Area. Without more funds our residential roads will continue to deteriorate and future repairs will cost even more.

Measure J will implement the second funding stage of the publicly approved Orinda Roads and Drainage Repair Plan to fix Orinda's failing roads and storm drains. That plan, which will bring the average Orinda public road to good condition, was developed by Orinda's Citizens' Infrastructure Oversight Commission, Finance Advisory Committee and City Council after numerous public hearings and citizen input. For more information, see http://www.fixorindaroads.org.

Measure J will:

  • Substantially increase repairs to residential roads and drains and can be used only in Orinda.
  • Add $20 million to the City's infrastructure investment, not replace current funding.
  • Protect property values, increase public safety and reduce auto damage.

Taxpayer Protections

Included among the taxpayer protections are requirements that:

  • Funds can only be used for street and drain repairs, not for other governmental purposes.
  • State and federal agencies are prevented from raiding these funds.
  • An independent citizens' oversight committee will report annually on the implementation of this measure.
  • An annual audit is required.

Measure J will expand our city's ability to make critically needed infrastructure improvements. It is an important investment in maintaining and improving our overall quality of life today and in the future. Homeowners will pay an average of approximately a one hundred ten dollar tax annually to secure twenty million dollars' worth of infrastructure improvements. Orinda taxpayers will benefit by acting now while construction costs are still low. Importantly, numerous safeguards are in place to ensure the money is spent as promised.

We urge you to vote yes on Measure J!

Sue Severson, Mayor, City of Orinda

Carol Penskar, Chair, Orinda Finance Advisory Committee

Victoria Smith, Councilmember, City of Orinda

Robert J. Birgeneau, Chancellor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

Dennis R Fay, Chair, Orinda Citizens' Infrastructure Oversight Commission

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Taxpayer protections in the argument favoring this measure are specious. There's no identification of scope regarding what specific roads, including residential roads, will be fixed. No rational person would give a contractor $20 million without an architectural plan defining the project's design, implementation and timetable. This same practice pertains to engineering projects undertaken by a city. A "Scope of Work" is the single most important document for a project since it defines and identifies project expectations, timeline, and costs, providing means to measure performance vs. the project's goals. Council wants to bypass approval of the scoping process and get the money first.

The prudent process is: first produce an overall plan with a definitive scope, then obtain taxpayers' approval, then judiciously apply expenditures while measuring performance, all per the scoping plan. Measure J proposes the reverse with a questionable Citizens' Infrastructure Oversight Committee "approval" process after the fact.

Orindans must address the following before agreeing to support any bond initiative:

1 - City Staff's/Council's inadequate project scope and accounting for use of funds;

2 - City Staff's/Council's non-disclosure about the full amount of funds required to repair our roads;

3 - Missing accounts of historical challenges now requiring increased taxpayer funding to resolve road and drain issues.

Council's "promises for process" are not credible. Orinda citizens deserve an approach that protects their tax dollars and is worthy of their support. This bond initiative fails on both counts; please vote NO.

Eve Phillips, Chief Executive Officer

Chester Earl Martine, Jr., Patent Attorney (Retired)

Christopher R. Kniel, Engineering Project Manager

Bruce R. London, M.D.

Rebecca Ann Brown, Daytrader

Ordinance 14-02 is not what it seems to be . . . Vote no!

We agree that Orinda roads are in disrepair and must be brought up to reasonable standards. Nevertheless, this Ordinance fundamentally fails to identify a clear scope of work and apply sound project management principles. The scope language is too broad and open ended. A bond initiative of $20 million demands thorough disclosure that details what specific roads the Project Plan designates for repair, the quality of repair (Pavement Condition Index), Plan scheduling, and cost estimates tied to the scope of work. The public must be provided this before voting whether to approve any bond initiative to repair our roads.

In addition, the city is disingenuous here about the full cost of repairing Orinda's roads, a cost which will be much greater than the $20M they hope to raise. Thus, the city will come back to the residents for more money to fix the roads in just a few years. This piecemealing out the solution rather than being honest with the public about the true costs and dimensions of the problem is wrong. And what guarantees do citizens have about specific road and drainage repairs? NONE. Does the Plan repair THEIR road, assure a level of quality agreeable to taxpayers, state an approximate time frame for repairs, and inform taxpayers of the associated costs? No. All we have in Ordinance 14-02 is: Give us the money and trust us to do the right thing!

Until the Council remedies these deficiencies, Orinda citizens should not be bamboozled into accepting a FIX that fails to adequately address the fundamental issues. Vote NO! Orinda Watch

Kathleen T. Jenkins, Contract Manager

Chester Earl Martine, Jr., Patent Attorney (Retired)

Christopher R. Kniel, Engineering Proj. Mgr.

Bruce London, M.D.

Rebecca Ann Brown, Daytrader

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Yes on Measure J!

None of the rebuttal arguments have merit. The opposition agrees Orinda has serious road problems, but presents no plan to solve them.

The facts, including the StreetSaver program, available ahead of each construction season determine that season's work. Construction variables (utility repair, weather-related damage, sudden erosion, etc.) make impractical a project-specific, year-by-year program for the entire work covered by the bond.

An independent Citizens Infrastructure Oversight Commission working with staff has established an objective open public process to annually determine which roads and drains should be repaired. These become the immediate priority for repair thereby maximizing use of limited funds - a fair and equitable method.

Measure J is the second step of a multi-phased approach to a viable solution allowing significant progress by funding improvements of our residential roads and drains now. Phase one is already being implemented successfully. Passage of these measures allows greater local control for our community to address local problems.

It is clear we have minimal ability to repair residential roads without new funding sources. With every passing year, the roads deteriorate further, making them ever more expensive to repair. The proposed bond will add to, not replace, current funding for road and drainage repairs.

Orinda is notorious for having among the worst roads in the Bay Area, an embarrassment to our community, negatively affecting our safety and property values. Let's move forward to continue this critical infrastructure investment needed now.

Join with us to vote YES on Measure J!

Darlene K. Gee, P.E., Civil Engineer

Mark Roberts, Lamorinda Rotary Clubs, Asst Governor Elect

Robert W. Burt, C.P.A., Retired

John Eddy, P.E., Civil Engineer

Pat Rudebusch, Orinda Citizen of the Year 2013

Tax Rate Statement from the Finance Director
An election will be held in the City of Orinda (the "City") on June 3, 2014, to authorize the sale of up to $20,000,000 in bonds of the City for municipal road and drain improvements as described in the proposition. If the bonds are approved, the City expects to sell the bonds in two series. Principal and interest on the bonds will be payable from the proceeds of tax levies made upon the taxable property in the City. The following information is provided in compliance with Sections 9400-9404 of the Elections Code of the State of California.

1. The best estimate of the tax which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the sale of the first series of bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $0.01300 per $100 ($13.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2015-16.

2. The best estimate of the tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the sale of the last series of bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $0.01837 per $100 ($18.37 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2018-19.

3. The best estimate of the highest tax rate which would be required to be levied to fund this bond issue, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is $0.02000 per $100 ($20.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2019-20.

Voters should note that the estimated tax rates are based on the ASSESSED VALUE of taxable property on the County's official tax rolls, not on the property's market value. Property owners should consult their own property tax bills to determine their property's assessed value and any applicable tax exemptions.

The foregoing information is based upon the City's projections and estimates only. The actual tax rates and the years in which they will apply may vary from those presently estimated, due to variations from these estimates in the timing of bond sales, the amount of bonds sold and market interest rates at the time of each sale, and actual assessed valuations over the term of repayment of the bonds. The dates of sale and the amount of bonds sold at any given time will be determined by the City based on need for project funds and other factors. The actual interest rates at which the bonds will be sold will depend on the bond market at the time of each sale. Actual future assessed valuation will depend upon the amount and value of taxable property within the City as determined by the County Assessor in the annual assessment and the equalization process.

Dated: March 7, 2014.

Susan Mahoney, Finance Director, City of Orinda, California

Full Text of Measure J
EXHIBIT A ORINDA ROAD AND STORM DRAIN REPAIR BOND MEASURE This Proposition may be known as the "Orinda Road and Storm Drain Repair Bond Measure" or as "Measure J".

FINDINGS In 2012, the City Council of the City of Orinda adopted the Orinda 10-Year Road and Drainage Repair Plan, the "10-Year Plan", and subsequently updated the plan in 2014, which plan is available for inspection on the City's website, for the purpose of establishing a new City policy with respect to providing funds to finance the infrastructure improvement needs within the City relating to roadways and storm drains.

The 10-Year Plan identifies over $52 million of infrastructure improvement needs within the City of Orinda, including street repairs and storm drain repairs.

The City Council now seeks authorization to issue bonds to provide financing as provided in the Orinda 10-Year Plan, which will provide a portion of the needed funds to repair damaged roads and collapsing storm drains.

PROPOSITION By approval of this proposition by at least two-thirds of the registered voters voting on the proposition, the City of Orinda shall be authorized to issue and sell $20,000,000 in bonds to provide financing for a portion of the cost of acquisition, construction and/or completion of municipal improvements consisting of repairs and improvements to roadways and storm drains.

Proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized by this proposition shall be used only for the purposes set forth in the paragraph above, subject to each of the accountability safeguards specified below.

ACCOUNTABILITY SAFEGUARDS Citizens' Infrastructure Oversight Commission (CIOC). On March 20, 2007, the City Council created the City Infrastructure Commission which advises the City Council with regard to infrastructure needs and improvements. On March 4, 2014, the City Council expanded the responsibilities of the City Infrastructure Commission and charged it with, among other things, (a) making recommendations to the City Council with respect to infrastructure project priorities and scope and (b) reviewing bond expenditures and reporting to the public whether bond proceeds are expended only for the projects approved by the City Council and authorized by voters. The City Infrastructure Commission complies with the Brown Act, including posting of all agendas, conducting open meetings, and approving its meeting minutes.

Special Bond Proceeds Account; Annual Report to Council. Upon approval of the Measure and the sale of any bonds approved, the Council shall establish an improvement fund or account (which may be an existing fund or account, if appropriate) in which proceeds of the sale of bonds will be deposited. As long as any proceeds of the bonds remain unexpended, the City Manager shall cause a report to be filed with the Council no later than December 31 of each year, commencing December 31, 2014, stating (1) the amount of bond proceeds received and expended in that year, and (2) the status of any project funded or to be funded from bond proceeds. The report may relate to the calendar year, fiscal year, or other appropriate annual period as the City Manager shall determine, and may be incorporated into the annual budget, audit, or other appropriate routine report to the Council.

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Created: June 3, 2014 10:58 PDT
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