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November 26, 2020

South Monterey County voters to decide on school bonds, tax measures

SALINAS VALLEY — Voters in South Monterey County will have a few local measures to consider in November, with all of them proposing ways to generate revenue for cities or schools in the area.

Though the election is set for Nov. 3, ballots can be turned in early at ballot drop boxes at local city halls and libraries. Following is a summary of the area’s local measures to help voters make an informed decision.

KING CITY

Measure P, “King City Commercial Cannabis Tax Amendment,” asks voters if they support a pair of taxes. One is up to 5% on retail sale of cannabis, cannabis products, industrial hemp and hemp products. The second is a tax of up to 2% on the distribution of cannabis and cannabis products generated outside of King City. The taxes have a projected revenue generation of approximately $150,000 annually, and would be in effect until terminated by voters. A majority vote is required for approval.


GREENFIELD

Measure T, “Greenfield 2020 City Services Transactions and Use Tax Measure,” asks voters if they support the extension of an existing voter-approved 0.75% sale tax increase by an additional six years. The extension would generate an estimated $1.1 million annually, and those funds are documented as being intended for enhancing the health, safety and welfare of Greenfield, and providing greater general city services, such as strengthened public safety, increased youth recreation programs, re-establishment of code enforcement services and other essential services. A majority vote is required for approval.


SOLEDAD

Measure N, “Student Technology and Teacher/Staff Housing Bond,” asks voters if they approve $13.75 million of bonds for Soledad Unified School District, which levies less than $26 per $100,000 assessed valuation. The bonds would raise approximately $863,487 for annual repayment through 2049, with funds used to increase and improve student access to modern technology, including computers, wiring and educational software, and to enhance Soledad’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified employees by constructing local teacher-staff rental housing. A 55% yes vote is required for approval.

Measure S, “Soledad General Services Tax Measure,” asks voters if they support an increase in the Soledad Transaction and Use Tax of 0.5%. The increase would bring the city’s sales tax from 8.75% to 9.25%, and is estimated to generate $900,000 per year. The funds generated would be used for local services, such as low-cost youth recreation programs and facilities, arts and science programs, senior programs and services, animal welfare programs and services, daycare and other general city services. The existing Transaction and Use Tax will drop by a full percent in 2032. A majority vote is required for approval.


GONZALES

Measure J, “Elementary School Construction/Technology Improvement Bond,” asks voters if they approve of $24.5 million in bonds with payments less than 6 cents per $100 assessed valuation for Gonzales Unified School District. The bonds would raise $1.5 million per year through 2049, and would fund the construction of a new elementary school, as well as upgrade school fire alarms and emergency preparations, improve handicap accessibility, upgrade technology and student internet access and replace aging roofs, plumbing and wiring at La Gloria Elementary School and Fairview Middle School. A 55% yes vote is required for approval.

Measure K, “High School Renovation/Technology Improvement Bond,” asks voters if they approve of $37 million in bonds with payments less than 6 cents per $100 assessed valuation for Gonzales Unified School District. The bonds would raise $2.3 million per year through 2049, and are slated to expand vocational education classrooms, including engineering, technology and agricultural science, upgrade school fire alarms and emergency preparations, improve handicap accessibility, upgrade science labs, technology and student internet access, replace outdated portables and repair classrooms, including roofs and plumbing at Gonzales High School and Gonzales Adult School. A 55% yes vote is required for approval.

Measure X, “Gonzales Enhanced Quality of Life Temporary Tax Measure,” asks voters if they support an increase of 0.5% to the Gonzales Temporary Transactions and Use Tax, which would bring that particular tax up to 1%. This particular tax would be contained within sales taxes collected in transactions within the city, meaning the total sales tax would increase by 0.5%, from 8.25% to 8.75%. City officials have stated neighboring cities charge higher sales taxes, even after the proposed increase. This increase would extend the Use Tax by 20 years, with all collected funds from the annual estimated total of $600,000 to go directly to city programs, which include the community pool renovation, park restrooms, skate park improvements, a Tot Lot at Centennial Park, expanded youth summer programs, senior programs, new playground equipment, internet for all programs, as well as other recommendations made by an advisory committee. A majority vote is required for approval.

Sean Roney
Sean Roney
Sean Roney is the reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers education, government and general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.

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