Prop 3, Measures PP, GG
Last updated 11/19/2018 at 10:37am
For Borregans, there were three ballot choices in the 2018-midterm elections that would affect the town’s future, depending on which way it swayed – Proposition 3, Measure PP and Measure GG.
However, only one out of the three ballot choices passed, and that was Measure GG.
Measure GG was a local bond initiative with a total value of $8.6 million, which would raise an average of $560,000 annually for the Borrego Springs Unified School District at a rate of $0.06 per $100 in assessed property value to fund facility and safety updates.
The Measure needed a 55% majority vote to pass, and received a margin of 66 – 34%.
Its intent is to improve the quality of education with funding that cannot be taken by the state. The measure would help modernize outdated classrooms, restrooms, and school facilities, as well as improvements in safety and security. However, approval of this measure doesn’t guarantee that the specific projects listed by the District will be funded by the sale of the bonds.
“On behalf of Borrego Springs Unified School District and all of our wonderful students, I sincerely thank the community of Borrego Springs for once again demonstrating its extreme generosity in approving Measure GG,” Superintendent Mark Stevens said. “Of all the school bonds approved this election cycle in San Diego County, ours was approved with the highest margin. Our community truly supports our students and the benefits of attaining an education. Now its time for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
Despite receiving a 55 – 45% margin, Measure PP did not pass, needing a two-thirds majority vote. This measure would have increased maximum rates of Borrego Springs Fire Protection District’s special parcel tax to $225 per year for single-family residences, plus other amounts for other property types.
It would have provided $720,000 a year for emergency services personnel, plus allowances for inflation and cost of living increases.
“It is unfortunate that the measure did not pass and we appreciate the community support that the Fire District received. As cost increases continue to outpace revenue growth, a change in the services the Fire District provides may need to be considered,” Fire Chief John Hardcastle said.
As we all know in Borrego, the water issue is in a critical state, and Proposition 3 being defeated by a 52 – 48% margin in the midterms is frustrating.
If it were to pass, this would have authorized $8.877 billion in general obligation bonds for water infrastructure, groundwater supplies and storage, surface water storage, dam repairs, watersheds, fisherie improvements, and habitat protection and restoration.
Borregans were looking forward to some financial help to purchase and fallow agricultural farmland and thus reduce the strain on our ever-dropping fresh groundwater supply. The money – $35 million – was earmarked in the proposition specifically for Borrego Springs, and now the Borrego Water District and County must look to other resources for the necessary funding.
Reasons for Prop-3 failure may be directly related to how voters viewed the Kern-Friant Canal situation. The Central Valley is subsiding due to over-pumping the aquifer, and with it the Canal. It needs to be fixed, and enough voters may have felt it was the farmers’ responsibility to do so. In addition, there was a concern over accountability: A lack of oversight may have contributed to the defeat, where money in the form of grants were to be paid directly to farmers, with little or no oversight by the State on how the money was spent, or if money was being spent wisely. Another issue perhaps in play was that too many water bond initiatives had previously passed, and voters didn’t see the need for another. Finally, some Prop-3 proponents felt there was not enough money raised for TV ads explaining the need and circumstances to voters.
One option under consideration by Prop-3 proponents is to put the initiative back on the ballot in 2020, this time making sure voters understand what’s a stake.
Replacing outgoing BWD Board of Directors Beth Hart and Joe Tatusko, newly elected directors Dave Duncan and Kathy Dice will take their seats at the first Board meeting in early December, although their term officially begins on the last Friday of this month, Nov. 30. A vote by the new Board will choose the Board president.
In the BSUSD Board member race, two seats were up for re-election, Judy Coyle and Valeen Szabo were re-elected to the BSUSD Board. Curt Yaws, BASIC administrator was also in the race, but trailed by five percentage points for the second seat.