November 8, 2016 - Measure L

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections

MUIR BEACH COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT
MEASURE L

MEASURE L: Adoption of Ordinance No. 2016-07-13 to impose a special tax for fire protection, including fuel abatement and emergency preparedness, in the Muir Beach Community Services District. To provide critical funding for fire protection services, including fuel abatement, emergency preparedness and equipment upgrades, shall Muir Beach CSD Ordinance No. 2016-07-13, which imposes an annual $213.00 parcel tax for 10 years with annual CPI adjustment, be approved and shall the Muir Beach CSD appropriations limit be increased by the amount of this voter approved tax?

YES                             NO

COUNTY COUNSEL’S IMPARTIAL ANALYSIS OF MEASURE L

MUIR BEACH COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT
PARCEL TAX ELECTION

This measure was placed on the ballot by the Board of Trustees of Muir Beach Community Services District to authorize a special tax for fire protection services, fuel abatement, emergency preparedness and equipment upgrades.

If this measure is approved by two-thirds of the vote, the Muir Beach Community Services District would be authorized to levy a tax of $213 for ten years with an annual CPI adjustment, on any parcel of land for which the County Assessor has assigned an assessor’s identification number. Parcels which are contiguous and held under identical ownership may upon approval of an application, be treated as a single parcel for purposes of the tax. Owners of a parcel used solely for owner-occupied single-family residential purposes and whose household income is 80% and below of median income for Marin County residents may obtain an exemption upon approval of an application. The proceeds of the proposed bonds must be used for the purposes set forth in the Measure and for no other purposes, and will be subject to oversight by a citizens’ oversight committee and annual financial and performance audits.

s/STEVEN M. WOODSIDE
County Counsel

By s/Sheila Lichtblau, Deputy County Counsel

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE L

The Muir Beach Volunteer Fire Department (MBVFD) operates on the barest of budgets. Measure L, a ten-year tax of $213 per parcel (except contiguous parcels held under identical ownership) per year, is necessary to maintain adequate fire and emergency preparedness for our community. Funding from Measure L will allow the volunteer firefighters in Muir Beach to continue to provide critical services, and operate in compliance with ever increasingly costly state and federal requirements for training and equipment. The California legislation requires volunteer fire departments to provide equipment and training equal to the State’s paid firefighting units, which has resulted in significantly higher costs in running the MBVFD. Prior to 2008, grants and donations supported the MBVFD, but now the Muir Beach Community Services District (MBCSD) depends upon a more reliable basis of funding. Unfortunately, the former dedicated fire tax expired this past June and if it is not renewed by Measure L the MBCSD will have to fill the gap in funding with available monies for roads and recreation, and those departments are already struggling for resources! Therefore, we urge you to vote yes on Measure L this November.

s/STEVE WYNN
Chief MBVFD

s/JOHN SWARD
Chief MBVFD ret

s/MICHAEL MOORE
Chief MBVFD ret

s/BARBARA PIOTTER
Disaster Coordinator

s/LYNDA GROSE
MBVFA Secretary/MBCSD Board Director

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE L

It's questionable whether the MBVFD operates on the "barest of budgets". With the tax measure funding over the last 4 years ($120,000), profits from the annual BBQ for the last 44 years (over $40,000 this year), sales of popular clothing items, raffles for 44 years and various government grants, the MBVFD is in all probability one of the best funded VFD in the state. In fact the non-profit arm of the MBVFD (MBVFA) is rumored to have accumulated a reserve fund of over $200,000.

And more power to them and to the Muir Beach community for generating and maintaining such a high level of support over the years.

But whether Measure L "is necessary to maintain adequate fire and emergency preparedness for our community" is also highly questionable. The MBVFD is easily one of best trained and equipped volunteer organizations of its kind; and there is no indication at this time of how an additional $300,000 over the next ten years (Measure L) in exclusive funding will make them any better than they already are. There are too many questions at this time about the need for Measure L particularly the vague allegation of "costly state and federal requirements for training and equipment".

Why not simply admit to the fact that more funding is needed to build a new firehouse and design a better tax measure for next year that addresses that need and is not exclusively for the MBVFD alone!

Vote NO on Measure L.

s/GERRY PEARLMAN
Founding Member MBVFD

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE L

The proposed tax measure extends the existing $200 parcel tax for 10 more years. It guarantees $300,000 in future funding exclusively to the MBVFD and can be used for no other purpose! Fire Department expenses fluctuate radically from year to year. A ten year commitment is both unwarranted and unnecessary!

Exclusive use of the tax revenue for the MBVFD diverts consideration from other crying needs in the community requiring immediate attention. The Community Center is subject to liability due to current repair needs, road repair (in the works for over two years) becomes more expensive the longer delayed, and easements requiring maintenance and improvement are just a few items that could benefit from additional funding.

Better to hold off on approving the present tax measure; and to fashion a better one for next year that increases the parcel tax to $250; and creates a capital improvement fund that includes the Community Center, roads and easements as well as the MBVFD.

I recognize the dedication and commitment of our volunteer fire department and in fact I was one of its founding members, but even though they are one of our most important organizations, they are still only one of the organizations that make Muir Beach such a vibrant community.

A capital improvement tax is the way to go; not one that exclusively benefits the MBVFD!

s/GERRY PEARLMAN
Founding member MBVFD

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE L

The MBVFD is a professional, trained organization offering an invaluable security net for Muir Beach. With the nearest County fire station 15 minutes away, the ability to call on our volunteers in an emergency is vital to the sustainability of our community. The Muir Beach Volunteer Fireman’s Association (MBVFA) provides support, but without revenue from the 2008 and 2012 fire tax measures, the MBVFD would lack the necessary funds for ongoing training, outfitting, and maintenance.

A 10-year term on the fire tax is both practical and fiscally responsible. The administrative burden of processing the fire tax every four years is considerable. Additionally, a ten-year tax allows the MBVFD to budget for longer-term expenditures rather than subsist with the continual threat of greatly reduced or eliminated funding.

Yes, this money is earmarked for the MBVFD. But, without it, the community will have to use the CSD’s general fund to pay for MBVFD operations, which reduces dollars available for all other community purposes. Delaying approval of Measure L would result in a full year’s loss of funding. This jeopardizes the entire community’s emergency preparedness and physical health, and also opens the door to financial risk for all of us. Thanks to Chief Steve Wynn and his volunteers’ work in reducing Muir Beach’s ISO ratings a few years ago, households in Muir Beach now save significantly more than $213 per year in homeowner’s insurance rates alone.

Not passing Measure L is penny wise, pound foolish.

s/SUZANNE BENDER-VAN SPYK
MBVFA Treasurer

s/VICTORIA HAMILTON-RIVERS
MBCSD Board Director

s/ROBERT ALLEN
Assistant Chief MBVFD, 27 year

Department veteran, EMT

s/MICHAEL KAUFMAN
MBVFA President ret

s/SCOTT BENDER
MBCSD Board Vice President ret

FULL TEXT OF MEASURE L

ORDINANCE NO. 2016-07-13

AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE MUIR BEACH COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT APPROVING AND ADOPTING THE LEVY OF A SPECIAL TAX ON THE REAL PROPERTY LOCATED WITHIN THE DISTRICT FOR FIRE PROTECTION AND RELATED PURPOSES

WHEREAS, the Muir Beach Community Services District (“District”) has been empowered by its voters to supply fire protection to District residents; and

WHEREAS, the increasing costs of operations and capital acquisitions for fire protection services, along with the increasing governing agency requirements and the declining net income from traditional funding sources, has caused the District to require a source of supplementary funds to support critical fire protection services, including fuel abatement, emergency preparedness and equipment upgrades; and

WHEREAS, fire protection services and the maintenance and improvement of the equipment and facilities required to provide such services are of benefit to all parcels within the District to which they are made available, whether or not the service is actually used, in part because such services increase the value of the land, improvements, and their possible future uses and by reducing the risk of their destruction by fire; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to District Ordinance No. 2012-1, each parcel within the District currently pays two hundred ($200.00) dollars per year for fire protection; and

WHEREAS, the current tax collected pursuant to Ordinance No. 2012-1 expired on June 30, 2016; and

WHEREAS, the Board now desires to increase the funds available for fire protection services, including fuel abatement, emergency preparedness and equipment upgrades.

NOW, THEREFORE THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF MUIR BEACH COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1: Purpose and Intent. The purpose and inĀ­tent of the Board of Directors of Muir Beach Community Services District (“Board”) with respect to the special tax is: To establish a stable source of supplementary funds to provide critical funding for fire protection services, including fuel abatement, emergency preparedness and equipment upgrades.

SECTION 2: Tax Imposed. Land parcels to be assessed under this Ordinance shall be defined as any parcel of land, developed or undeveloped, wholly or partially located within the District, for which the County Assessor of Marin County has assigned an assessor’s identification number, provided, however, that any such parcels which are contiguous and held under identical ownership, may, upon approval of an application of the owners thereof to this Board, be treated as a single parcel for purposes of this special tax. The special tax of two hundred thirteen ($213.00) dollars shall be levied per annum for a period of ten (10) years, beginning FY 2016-2017 and continuing through FY 2025-2026, on each parcel as defined in this Section 2.

SECTION 3: Exemption from Special Tax. Any owner of a parcel used solely for owner-occupied single-family residential purposes and whose household income is Eighty Percent (80%) and below of median income for Marin County residents, may obtain an exemption for the special tax upon approval of an application of such owner submitted to the Muir Beach Community Services District.

SECTION 4: Inflation Adjustment. The Board may annually, by resolution passed by a simple majority of the Board, increase the amount of the special tax commensurate with the annual percentage increase to the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI”) for the preceding calendar year.

SECTION 5: Increase of Appropriations Limit. Pursuant to the provisions of Article XIII-B of the California Constitution, the appropriations limit of the Muir Beach Community Services District is hereby increased by an amount equal to the special taxes imposed by this ordinance for a period of ten (10) years.

SECTION 6: Tax Rate. The Board shall determine annually, based on a budget recommended to it, whether the basic tax rate shall be revised to reflect changes in charges and costs. If the Board determines that the basic tax rate shall be revised at a rate lower than set forth in Section 2 and 4 hereof, it shall so revise said rate by resolution passed by a simple majority of the Board.

SECTION 7: Method of Collection. The special tax imposed by this ordinance is due from every person who owns a parcel within the Muir Beach Community Services District and as reflected upon the rolls of the County Assessor at the same time ad valorem tax is due and is to be collected in the same manner. The Marin County Tax Collector shall collect the tax and any penalty or interest due hereunder. The full amount due under this Ordinance shall constitute a debt to the Muir Beach Community Services District. Marin County may deduct the reasonable costs incurred by the County for this service before remittance of the balance to Muir Beach Community Services District.

SECTION 8: Delinquency. To any amount of the special tax created by this Ordinance which becomes delinquent, the Marin County Tax Collector shall add a penalty in the amount equal to any penalty owing for delinquencies in the ad valorem property tax. The tax and penalty shall bear interest at the same rate as the rate for unpaid ad valorem property tax until paid.

SECTION 9: Effective Date. This Ordinance shall not become effective unless approved at the November 8, 2016 election by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the voting registered voters within the District. This Ordinance shall become effective immediately upon the voter approval.

SECTION 10: Ten Year Tax. When approved by the voters this Ordinance shall remain in effect for a period of ten (10) years.

SECTION 11: Invalidity. If any part of this Ordinance is held to be invalid for any reason, such decision shall not affect the remaining portion of this Ordinance and the Board hereby declares that it would have passed the remainder of this Ordinance as if such invalid portion thereof had been deleted.

SECTION 12: Adoption and Publication. This Ordinance shall be introduced at least five (5) days prior to the Board meeting at which this Ordinance is to be adopted by the Board. The full text of this Ordinance shall also be published once within fifteen (15) days after this Ordinance’s passage by the Board, along with the names of the board members voting for and against the same, in the Marin Independent Journal, a newspaper of general circulation published in the County of Marin.

SECTION 13: Posting. The District shall post a certified copy of the full text of this Ordinance, as adopted by the Board, along with the names of the board members voting for and against the Ordinance.

SECTION 14: Effective Date. This Ordinance shall not be considered effective unless and until it is approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the voters voting upon this measure at an election to be held November 8, 2016.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED this 3rd day of August, 2016 by the following vote:

AYES: Friedman, Grose, Hamilton-Rivers, Lambert
NOES: Jeschke
ABSENT: None
ABSTAIN: None

s/GARY FRIEDMAN
President, Board of Directors
Muir Beach Community Services District

ATTEST:
s/BILL HANSELL
District Manager