Mountain View Voice

News - June 6, 2014

Open space bond measure is too close to call

by Richard Hine

Measure AA, a $300 million bond measure for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, was favored by voters in Tuesday's June 3 election, but preliminary results on Wednesday are too close to determine whether it received the two-thirds approval it needs to pass.

Bay City News Service reported Wednesday that the vote was too close to call since ballots cast in both counties must be added up and San Mateo County's percentage voting for it was 65 percent, just below the required 66.66 percent to pass. Santa Clara County voters have supported it by 67.56 percent so far, according to the Registrar of Voters' website.

With all precincts counted, the yes vote in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, plus a single precinct in Santa Cruz County, totaled 48,419, which is 130 votes more than the two-thirds' voter approval required for passage.

The vote count by county is:

• San Mateo County: 17, 167 yes and 9,005 no.

• Santa Clara County: 31,251 yes and 15,009 no.

In Santa Cruz County, only one vote was cast and it was in support of the measure.

There are still votes to count, including provisional and mail-in ballots dropped off on Election Day.

The district wants the authority to issue up to $300 million in bonds to improve, preserve and restore its properties, and to purchase land needed to connect trails and preserve plant and animal habitats.

The bonds have a maximum term of 40 years and the annual tax is predicted to range from $1 per $100,000 assessed value (or $10 for a $1 million home) in 2015-16 to $2.90 per $100,000 assessed value (or $29 for a $1 million property) in 2044-45. The highest rate of $3.18 would be in 2034-35.

Steve Abbors, general manager of the open space district, says the bond measure is the first the district has attempted to pass in its 41 years. The district covers southern and central San Mateo County from the Bay to the ocean, and northern and western Santa Clara County, as well as a small area in Santa Cruz County.

Property owners in the district, except for those on the coast, currently pay $17 per $100,000 of assessed property value, or $170 a year for a property valued at $1 million. Property owners on the coast will help pay for the bonds if Measure AA passes.

Email Richard Hine at editor@almanacnews.com

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