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Water Tax Ballot Is In Your Mailbox

Contra Costa County property owners to vote on ballot for programs to bring water up to state and federal standards.

Landing in Contra Costa County property owners' mailboxes this week are ballots to authorize a potential parcel tax to fund water pollution control improvements.

The 2012 Community Clean Water Initiative is designed to improve water quality and prevent pollutants, bacteria and trash from entering the streams and flowing into the Delta and the Bay. The goal is for the county comply with state and federal water purity standards.

Under the auspices of California Proposition 218 of 1996, the county will gather the results of property owners' votes, said Tom Dalziel, program manager for the Contra Costa Clean Water Program; if a simple majority is achieved, the county Board of Supervisors can levy the parcel tax in June.

For six years, the county set aside $1.5 million to fund an engineering study, funding analysis, public opinion surveys, public information campaign and election, Dalziel said.

Based on surveys of what communities could bear in a parcel tax, the proposed level is $19 per parcel in the west county and unincorporated areas; $22 per parcel in the central county and $12 per parcel in the east county. Dalziel said that revenue level will not finance the program sufficiently to bring county water up to state and federal standards — the cities and other municipalities will need to supplement revenue from general funds and other sources.

Thanks to Patch reader Bryn Thenell, who brought this to our attention.

srl99 February 24, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Pay additional taxes, on top of the exorbitant taxes we are already paying? Parcel tax which is yet another revenue stream expand wasteful government? Aren't I already paying water rates which are among the highest in the nation? Hmmm... let me think on it. Ummm, NO! But, thanks for asking. Sure is nice to know voting yes will save cute little polar bear pups from going hungry, though.
Alan Diffenderfer February 24, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Great, more lazy government workers and their pensions comming from my pay check!!!! Just what we need!!! Why not take the CHP cops that do nothing but harass commuters and make them the water police??? Oh yeah, I remember why....the courts want the ticket money to pay their salaries and pensions!!! Our government just steals from us.....
JClark927 February 24, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I will vote "no" and encourage you to do the same. I believe there are ample funds already available until I see some variation of the fixes below to public employee pensions: (1) No pay out of pensions until ages 62, 65, 67 with varying payment based upon the age chosen. (2) Government "fund" accounting modified to require that, at the point of retirement, the actuarial amount required to fund an individual's retirement be funded (so that the taxpayers who benefited from that employees service, have paid for that employees service and, through their tax burden, truly understand the cost of the deals being made by their elected officials). (3) Pensions are set up as "defined contribution" (pay outs based upon the amount paid in) instead of "defined benefit" (obligations exist without regard to the amount paid in). (4) Meet obligations to date (we, the people, need to pay for our lack of focus), but apply the new standard to new and current employees from implementation date forward. (ie: (a) pay current pensioners and (b) if you are public safety on a 3/30 with twenty years in, we owe you 60% after 30 years, but you are on defined contribution starting today.) Only fundamental changes like those above will prevent the disintegration of our government and a "crash" of the pension system. (please do not fall for the "it was hard, but we cut XX%" trial balloons.) New taxes that put off the day of reckoning must be shot down for the benefit of the next generations.
WC-Independent February 24, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I have a 3/2 and the dollar amount on my sheet was $35. enven though the marketing departed stated - "the proposed level is $19 per parcel in the west county and unincorporated areas; $22 per parcel in the central county and $12 per parcel in the east county" "NO" is my vote. I'll be glad to donate directly to a fund to eradicate the geese from Heather Farm for good.
Patrick Grant February 25, 2012 at 07:48 AM
So let me get this straight, the county already spent $1.5 million dollars researching how to spend and to see if it was going to be popular to spend $8 million dollars more to do the job that they, Contra Costa Clean Water Program, is already supposed to be doing. The ballot was very vague, and with a lot of "feel good" phrases. Do you want to vote for dirty water? It didn't tell how far from the standards or how polluted the water was currently. It showed stock pictures of trash in waterways with no labels as to where if it even was local water way. It could of even showed a worst case situation that would justify the money. This seems like another grab for money like the raises in fees to get consumers to conserve water which resulted in people using less water. Then there was a decrease in revenue, which caused another rate increase. Will we ever see fees go down. This new fee will disappear in 10 years, "bull pucky". My vote is "NO".
Millie Parkerly February 25, 2012 at 09:24 PM
I recieved my ballots. I'm in East County. This article said $12. for my area. It is actually $35. iI already pay $30. for a stormwater tax ! I VOTED NO.
Creek Dad February 26, 2012 at 03:57 AM
I just got my ballot today, and voted YES! $22 a year. Seems a worthwhile investment in our shared quality of life.
Jerome Fishkin February 28, 2012 at 04:10 AM
The mailer was one sided and did not give me any real information. I am offended by the way it was done. Even the amount of my tax was difficult to find. So, my ballot stays on my desk while I mull over the options.
christine mccain March 03, 2012 at 09:17 PM
I already mailed my in and voted NO! I am appauled at the sneaky way they are trying to do this. Also we are getting charged 44 dollars for a big lot where most of it is just undeveloped dirt! Where is the run off?
Jojo Potato March 08, 2012 at 08:29 PM
This election is illegal. I voted NO. There is no pro and con material as would be required in a normal election and signing the ballot doesn't make it secret anymore does it? I'm hoping their attempt to sneak this through fails.

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