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November 26, 2020

Voters pass South Monterey County school bonds, city tax measures

Additional election results to be released Tuesday evening

SALINAS VALLEY — South Monterey County residents have cast their votes for local school bond and city tax measures, all of which were currently passing as of Monterey County Elections’ latest results.

In the county’s semi-final report Nov. 13, Gonzales Unified School District’s two bonds — Measures J and K — each gained enough support to be passing. 

Measure J received 1,930 yes votes, or 60.46%, while Measure K earned 2,045 yes votes, or 64.19%. Both bond measures require at least 55% of voter approval to pass.

Measure J would build a new elementary school to relieve student overcrowding; 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. The measure would authorize $24.5 million in bonds, with payments less than 6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation through 2049.

Measure K would 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preparations; improve handicap accessibility; upgrade science labs, technology and student internet access; replace outdated portables; and repair classrooms, including roofs and plumbing, at Gonzales High School and Gonzales Adult School. The measure would authorize $37 million in bonds, with payments less than 6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation through 2049.

After a similar measure failed in the March primary election, Soledad Unified School District’s Measure N is succeeding with 3,198 yes votes, or 62.38%. The measure also needs at least 55% of voter approval to pass.

Measure N would increase and improve student access to modern technology, including computers, wiring and educational software; and enhance Soledad’s ability to attract and retain highly qualified employees by constructing local teacher-staff rental housing. The measure would authorize $13.75 million in bonds, with average levies less than $26 per $100,000 of assessed valuation through 2049.

In addition, the cities of King City, Soledad, Greenfield and Gonzales each placed a local tax measure on November’s ballot. All four measures, which require majority voter approval, were currently passing as of Friday’s results.

Measure P, the City of King’s commercial cannabis tax amendment, received 1,532 yes votes, or 69.70%. The measure would amend the city’s commercial cannabis tax to include a new tax of up to 5% of gross receipts on the retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products, including industrial hemp and hemp products, and up to 2% of gross receipts on the distribution of cannabis and cannabis products generated from outside King City. It is projected to generate about $150,000 annually, and would be in effect until terminated by the voters.

Measure S, the City of Soledad’s general services tax, earned 3,032 yes votes, or 61.19%. The measure would increase the city’s transaction and use tax by 0.5% to provide local services, such as programs for low-cost youth recreation, arts and science, senior citizens, animal welfare and daycare. It would generate $900,000 per year until ended by the voters.

Measure T, the City of Greenfield’s 2020 city services transactions and use tax, received 2,163 yes votes, or 60.47%. The measure would extend a voter-approved 0.75 cent sales tax to continue 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. It would raise $1.1 million annually for the next six years.

Measure X, the City of Gonzales’ enhanced quality of life temporary tax, earned 1,234 yes votes, or 53.63%. The measure would increase the city’s temporary transactions and use tax from 0.5% to 1%, as well as extend the life of the tax by 20 years. It would generate an estimated additional $600,000 each year, with all funds dedicated exclusively to Gonzales programs, projects and initiatives.

As of Friday’s latest results, Monterey County Elections has processed 162,252 ballots, representing a 78.41% voter turnout so far. An estimated 3,364 ballots are left to be counted.

Additional results will be released later today, Nov. 17.

Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor 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 King City and occasionally for the surrounding communities in South Monterey County.

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