October Martinez Mayor's Message
Oct 03, 2016 01:51PM
● By Rob Schroder
Rob Schroder, Mayor of Martinez
In late July, the Martinez City Council voted unanimously
to place a measure on the November ballot, proposing a ½ cent sales tax
dedicated to improving, maintaining, and repairing roads and streets in
Martinez. This will be Measure D on your November ballot.
In mid-August, the city council held a special meeting to review the draft argument in favor of Measure D developed by Councilmember Lara DeLaney and me. The council took input from the public and then wordsmithed the draft for hours. We wanted to make sure we accurately stated the facts, which included how we spent available road improvement funds in the past, what would happen to the condition of our roads if we did not augment our efforts, and what we could accomplish if the voters approved Measure D.
From the amount of comments and questions I get every time I write about the condition of Martinez roads and the funding challenges we face, I know we have a lot of work to do to answer those questions and gain the trust of our citizens that their tax dollars are being spent, and will continue to be spent, efficiently and make a real difference.
In an effort to answer some of those questions, here are some important facts. Measure D would:
· Provide local funding that stays under local control
· Triple our current paving budget
· Automatically expire in 15 years
· Be a tax on sales, not property
· Only cost shoppers 50 cents for every $100 dollars spent
· Improve public safety and create safer conditions for children and pedestrians
· Involve a Citizens Oversight Committee to maintain strict financial oversight
The city maintains over 121 miles of roads and has spent all available federal and state grants, gas tax, and local road funding (almost $15 million) on pavement projects for the last 10 years. Prior to the recession, we allocated millions of dollars from the unrestricted fund balance to augment those efforts. When the recession hit, we had to terminate future allocations in order to maintain core city services such as public safety.
To be clear, the $2.1 million that Measure D would generate each year would not repair and maintain all of our roads to the condition we strive for, but it would permit the city to address many of our most critical road improvement needs while creating prevailing wage jobs in Martinez.
In 2008, Martinez voters approved Measure H to improve and rebuild our library and all of our parks. Measure H generated $30 million, and almost all projects have been completed. The last substantial projects are the soccer field at Hidden Lakes, and Waterfront Park, which is in the final design phase.
Every one of our Measure H projects has come in under budget and on time. We can do the same with our roads with Measure D. What we have done for our parks we can do for our roads.