Pleasant Hill Mayor's Message
Aug 29, 2016 09:54AM
● By Sue Noack
Sue Noack, Pleasant Hill Mayor
Pleasant Hill City Council Places Sales Tax Measure on November ballot
At the August 1 city council meeting, we voted to put a ½ cent sales tax measure on the November ballot. The increased revenue to the city will allow us to significantly improve our residential streets, create new bike paths and sidewalks, reduce our deferred maintenance on storm drains and streets, and build a new library. If approved by Pleasant Hill voters this November, Measure K would provide $4 million of additional funding each year for the city to make all of these vital improvements. The additional sales tax would end after 20 years.
Measure K requires the establishment of a Citizens Oversight Committee, appointed by city council, to review the collection and expenditure of sales tax revenues and ensure that the money is spent appropriately. It also requires mandatory annual financial audits of all monies collected and spent on city programs and services.
It’s all about streets, roads, sidewalks and storm drains
No one, including me, likes to increase taxes, but sometimes it is necessary and prudent. As a result of state pullbacks and economic recession, Pleasant Hill faces about $15 million in deferred maintenance on streets and sidewalks and about $9 million in deferred storm drain maintenance and needed upgrades. In addition, we have over $42 million in other unfunded capital improvement projects. Addressing our deteriorating neighborhood streets now is extremely important as the costs to repair them later can more than double if allowed to deteriorate further.
Imagining the new Pleasant Hill Library
While road and storm drain maintenance is important, it is not necessarily exciting. A new library on the other hand is something to get excited about. What does the “library of the future” mean to you?
While the Pleasant Hill Library provides traditional library services, it also provides important programs and community activities. These programs stimulate creativity, learning and innovation. Speaking from personal experience, we now have a very large telescope occupying a corner of our family room as a result of my husband and son attending an astronomy evening.
Other programs and special events include music, multimedia art and design, coding, robotics, book clubs, eco-sewing and Lego building. Evening events such as Maker Mondays, Tinker Tuesdays and A Night of 1,000 inventions inspire hundreds of kids. Attend one of Pleasant Hill’s famous Storytimes, and you will see what excites so many young children (and parents)!
A new library would have flexible space to expand its programs and reach out to residents, businesses, and local groups in need of meeting spaces, conference rooms, and state of the art technology. It would have an expanded children’s and family area with hands-on activities for learning; a separate teen area ensuring a safe and social environment while making after school more fun for youth; an open floor plan with tens of thousands of collections; and a Friends of the Library bookstore.
While these are just some of the features that we could see in a new Pleasant Hill Community Library, I would love to hear your suggestions and ideas on what you would like to see in a new facility. You can email me at [email protected].
Of course, in order make the new building a reality, we need you to pass the sales tax measure this November to give us the necessary funding for much of our deferred street maintenance and the library facility.