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San Mateo County, CA November 6, 2001 Election
Measure T
Parks and Recreation Facilities Renovation and Expansion
City of Menlo Park

Bond - 2/3 Vote Required

3,303 / 69.7% Yes votes ...... 1,433 / 30.3% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Tax Rate Statement |

"To renovate and expand the City's parks and recreation facilities, shall the City of Menlo Park be authorized to issue $38,000,000 in General Obligation Bonds phased over several years for the construction, acquisition, and improvement of such facilities and all costs incident thereto; provided, that at the time any bond is issued, the highest tax rate required to service all bonds authorized by this measure and issued shall not be in excess of $14 per $100,000 in assessed value?"

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote of this measure means:
A two-thirds "yes" vote will allow the City of Menlo Park to issue $38 million in bonds to renovate and expand parks and recreation facilities.

A NO vote of this measure means:
A "no" vote means that the bonds for improvement of parks and recreation facilities may not be sold.

Impartial Analysis from William L. McClure, City Attorney, City of Menlo Park
The City of Menlo Park is authorized by the laws of the State of California to issue general obligation bonds to finance the construction of municipal improvements. In accordance with these provisions, the City Council determined the necessity of such improvements and unanimously adopted an ordinance on August 7, 2001, calling this election and submitting this measure to a vote of the electors of the City.

This measure, if approved by two-thirds of the voters voting on the measure, would authorize the City to issue general obligation bonds in an amount up to $38,000,000 in one or more series, and to spend the proceeds of such bonds for the purpose of financing the renovation and expansion of the City's parks and recreation facilities, and to pay certain costs of issuance of the bonds. The California Constitution limits the use of proceeds of general obligation bonds to the "acquisition or improvement of real property". The City will be required to keep all bond proceeds in a separate account, not commingled with any other funds, to be used exclusively for the park and recreation purposes authorized by the measure.

Principal and interest on the bonds would be paid from an annual tax levied upon the taxable property within the City in an amount sufficient to pay the interest on the bonds and the principal coming due before proceeds of the next general tax levy become available. The Tax Rate Statement of the City, which follows this analysis, reflects the best estimate of property tax levies which would be required to service the bonds, based upon currently available data and projections. The terms of the bonds would be determined by resolution of the City Council at the time of issuance of any of the bonds.

The City will not be permitted to sell any bonds unless the City can repay the proposed bonds and all then outstanding bonds authorized by this bond measure through the levying of a tax that is less than or equal to $14.00 per $100,000 of assessed valuation based on the assessed value of the taxable property in the City at the time of issuance of such bonds. After the bonds have been issued, it is possible that the future assessed valuation within the City could decline during the repayment period. In that event, the actual tax rate required to pay the debt service on the bonds could exceed $14.00 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

In addition to the limitation of the measure described in the preceding paragraph, California law provides that the City Council cannot sell bonds which would cause the total outstanding bonded indebtedness of the City to exceed 3.75% of the assessed value of all real and personal property in the City nor can the interest rate on any bond exceed the statutory limit of 12% per annum.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Ordinance No. 909. If you desire a copy of the Ordinance, please call the City Clerk's office at (650) 858-3381, and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.


Candidates/Bond Measure Forum
Wednesday, October 10, 7-10 pm, Menlo Park City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park
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Arguments For Measure T Arguments Against Measure T


Menlo Park is a great place to live, but our recreation facilities are old, crowded, and unable to meet residents' increasing needs.

  • The Burgess Park facilities need renovation. Our gym and pools have periodically been shut down due to inadequate ventilation and system failures.
  • Picnic space in some parks needs to be reserved a year in advance.
  • Enrollment has dramatically increased in citywide recreation programs, including gymnastics, basketball, and swimming. Soccer alone has grown to 2,100 players, up 400 in the last two years. Such high demand has created long waiting lists for most activities, resulting in children and adults being turned away because of inadequate capacity.

After an intensive, 18-month participatory process, residents identified the highest priority projects for serving their leisure and fitness needs, including:

  • Improvements to nearly every park in the City to protect and reflect the value of our community and our homes.
  • At Burgess Park, an upgraded recreation center, gymnasium, swimming pools, and a new childrens' center to replace the temporary portables.
  • Throughout Menlo Park, renovated and new soccer and little league fields, basketball and tennis courts, tot lots, and a skateboard park.

To fund these projects, the City is asking Menlo Park residents to approve a General Obligation Bond.

  • The City has managed wisely. The Bond is part of a responsible financial plan, which includes an additional $10 million in Redevelopment Agency and General Fund contributions plus school partnerships to maximize funding.
  • The Bond will raise $14 million initially and may generate an additional $24 million over the next 15 years as property is sold or re-assessed. The cost to homeowners is $14 per $100,000 assessed value. A homeowner with an assessed value of $500,000 would pay only $70 more per year in property taxes.

Please join us on November 6 and vote YES on Measure T.

/s/ Linda Craig
On behalf of League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County, President

/s/ Ben Ray Parks
Retired Coach M.A. High School

/s/ Stevan S. Allen

/s/ Karen S. Canty
Trustee Menlo Park City School District

/s/ Kerry D. Hoctor
President Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Parks are nice. Granted. - But when the city asks the average household to pony up an extra $5,000, it's a case of the tail wagging the dog. The parks should have a place within the budget - not on top of it.

The people who do reap a premium value from city-run facilities should pay for them. If AYSO finds Burgess Park too downscale for their tastes lately, they should pay for improvements.

Proponents cite long waiting lists for facilities that they suggest are run down. Logically speaking, however, one would expect the waiting lists to grow longer, not shorter if the facilities are made more desirable. The obvious solution would be to charge fees at a level that matches supply and demand, as is done in the free market, and certain other public facilities, such as golf courses. The revenue from fees can be used to increase supply of services/facilities until equilibrium is achieved, and demand is satisfied.

With so many local jobs in jeopardy - perhaps on the brink of a recession - now is not the time to raise taxes - especially not for purely recreational purposes.

/s/ Margret Buckley Schmidt
Treasurer, Libertarian Party of San Mateo County

/s/ Christopher VA Schmidt
Retired Computer Professional

A Question: Have you ever thought the following?

"I wish my parents had borrowed more money when I was a kid - and left their debts for me to pay off."

Of course not! - but many or most politicians seek to do exactly that with bonds: "Borrow now and pay later. It's only 'other people's money'". But we do not need to borrow money to fund our cities.

Boatloads of Money: Combine the following:

  • record property tax revenue from some of the most expensive real estate in America
  • record sales tax revenue from one of the highest sales tax rates in America
  • record utility taxes
  • hotel taxes, business taxes, etc. ...and what do you get? Boatloads of money.

Menlo Park's take adds up to $30 million annually, or over $2,000 per household. That should be enough to keep the peace and pay for a few unnecessary government services as well.

This is a vote on decades of future interest payments, adding almost $30 million to the original cost of the bond. No, thanks.

The Bottom Line: Principal and interest payments would total almost $68 million. That's approximately $5,000 in new taxes per household, over the next 30 years - on top of what you pay now.

/s/ John J. Hickey
Chair, Libertarian Party of San Mateo County

/s/ Christopher VA Schmidt
Retired Computer Professional

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Measure T was thoughtfully drafted by Menlo Park residents. It is financially sound. Leading citizens representing many divergent interests and a unanimous City Council enthusiastically support it. The opposition lives in Redwood City. They won't be affected if Measure T's goals - improving our community's quality of life for all current and future residents, and enhancing the value of our homes - are unmet.

Our existing recreation facilities are aging and can't keep up with increasing demands. This Bond funds the highest priority upgrades and renovations. There are no "boatloads of money" as the opposition alleges. After the State, County, and School Districts take their share, Menlo Park gets only about 10% of property taxes. City funds must cover ongoing operating costs like police, filling potholes, and increasing maintenance costs for our parks, pools, and gyms. Menlo Park has been financially responsible and has a high bond rating. Because City budgets cannot cover significant capital investments, our citizens once before overwhelmingly passed a bond to expand our Library.

We once again need to support a modest reinvestment in our community. The opponents' numbers are mistaken. For example, they have forgotten that our businesses will pay about 40% of the cost of this Bond.

A Yes vote allows us to: increase Citywide recreation programs, improve nearly every park, create an after school children's center, and renovate or establish additional soccer and Little League fields, as well as basketball courts.

A No vote keeps our recreation facilities deteriorating.

Let's vote YES on Measure T.

/s/ RP Tolles
Senior Vice President, Union Bank of California

/s/ Lee B. Duboc
former Chairwoman, Menlo Park Parks & Rec Commission

/s/ Charles M. Kinney
Menlo Park City Council Member

/s/ Bruce Wellings

/s/ Suzanne Couch
Former President, La Entrada School PTA

Tax Rate Statement from U. Chokkalingam, City Treasurer

Measure "T" (Parks and Recreation Facilities)

An election will be held in the City of Menlo Park (the "City") on November 6, 2001, to authorize the sale of up to thirty eight million dollars in bonds of the City to finance the renovation and expansion of City parks and recreational facilities as described in the measure. If the bonds are approved, the City expects to sell the bonds in several series from time to time. Principal and interest on the bonds will be payable from the proceeds of 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 first series of the bonds, based on estimated assessed valuations available at the time of filing of this statement, is 1 and 4/10ths cents per $100 ($14 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2002-03.

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 1 and 4/10ths cents per $100 ($14 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2015-2016.

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 1 and 4/10ths cents per $100 ($14 per $100,000) of assessed valuation in fiscal year 2002-03.

The Measure authorizing the bonds provides that the City may not issue a series of bonds unless, at the time of issuance, the tax rate necessary to pay principal and interest on those bonds and all previously issued bonds is not greater than $14 per $100,000 of assessed value based on the then current assessed value of property in the City. Under State Law, the City must levy a tax each year sufficient to pay principal and interest on all outstanding bonds, so if the assessed value in the City subsequently were to decline, the required tax rate in years subsequent to bond issuance could increase.

Voters should note that estimated tax rate is based on the ASSESSED VALUE of taxable property on the County's official tax rolls, not on the property's market value, which could be more or less than the assessed value. In addition, taxpayers eligible for a property tax exemption, such as the homeowner's exemption, will be taxed at a lower effective tax rate than described above. Certain taxpayers may also be eligible to postpone payment of taxes. Property owners should consult their own property tax bills and tax advisors to determine their property's assessed value and any applicable tax exemptions.

Attention of all voters is directed to the fact that the foregoing information is based upon the City's projections and estimates only, which are not binding upon the City. 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 construction 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.

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Created: December 3, 2001 02:34
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