The speakers at the September Meeting were Audrey Ng, Ed Coady and Dr. Joan Rosas, who discussed Measure X, and Maureen Freschet and Larry Patterson, who presented the City’s views on Measure S.
Dr. Rosas informed us that SMFCSD now supports 12,500 student and is projected to add 200 students per year; existing facilities cannot accommodate these numbers. If approved, Measure X would generate $148 million in locally controlled funds to address the needs of the schools. It will levy a tax equal to approximately $14 per $100,000 of assessed property value (not market value) and will last for as long as the bonds are outstanding, i.e., 30 years. Measure X requires 55% approval.
To determine how best to meet the expected capacity needs, the Next Steps Advisory Committee was formed 18 months ago. Audrey and Ed reviewed the committee’s outreach to the community and the results of their efforts. The committee conducted 121 different group meetings with a large variety of stakeholders. It found consensus to build new capacity where the student growth is expected. In our area, gyms and classrooms are needed at Abbott and Borel. There was discussion about selling district properties not presently being used, including the “Knolls” campus, as well as alternative uses, such as building housing for teachers. Members inquired why new developments do not include new schools. Dr. Rosas explained that the required environmental impact reports do include impact on schools, and that developer fees are assessed. However, the fees are set by the state and not by the city, and they are inadequate to finance the needed additional capacity.
Mayor Freschet discussed the history of Measure S, which is a continuation of Measure L, passed in 2009 to help San Mateo recover its financial strength. That was successful, and the City now has a three month budget reserve. However, Measure L sunsets in 2017. The proposed Measure S will replace it.
City Manager Larry Patterson explained that we need this dedicated funding source because we don’t have enough dollars to cover what needs to be done, and delays will result in increased costs down the road. Measure S funds mainly will be used for: (1) Failed Street Program: $1.5 M per mile is the current cost for failed street reconstruction. 19 miles of streets currently are classified as failed in San Mateo, but the available budget is only $4.5 million; (2) Flood map: San Mateo needs to implement improvements in flood zones at a current cost of $23.5 million; and (3) Public Safety such as dealing with gangs, homelessness and property crimes. A Citizens Advisory Committee will be created to oversee this 30 year measure.