Marin voters approve library measures

June 9, 2010 2:22:27 PM PDT
Three ballot measures asking for money for libraries in Marin County passed Tuesday, according to complete unofficial election results.

Measures that would have allocated money for flood control in Santa Venetia and a flood wastewater management contract in the Novato Sanitary District appear to have failed.

The library measures asked voters to approve an annual $49 parcel tax starting July 1 and all required two-thirds approval.

Measure A, an annual parcel tax for the Marin County Free Library District, passed with 74 percent of the vote.

The Marin County Free Library District includes Bolinas, Fairfax, Novato, Stinson Beach, Inverness, Point Reyes, Corte Madera, Marin City and the Civic Center library.

Measure B, a $49 annual parcel tax for five years to enhance San Anselmo library services, also passed with 74 percent approval.

Measure C, a seven-year, $49 annual parcel tax for the San Rafael Public Library, won with 69 percent approval.

Library officials said the money is needed to restore reduced hours and services because of local government funding cuts, to avoid staff reductions, hire a children's librarian and increase outreach to schools whose library services have been cut.

Seniors ages 65 and older would be exempt from the parcel taxes if the parcel is their primary place of residence.

Measure D, a special $530 annual parcel tax on voters in Flood Control Zone No. 7 in Santa Venetia, failed, according to unofficial results. It needed two-thirds approval and got only 29 percent.

The money would have paid for the construction of Pump Station 2, Estancia Ditch improvements, an evaluation of the Las Gallinas Creek levee and to replenish capital improvement and emergency reserves.

Opponents of Measure D said it earmarked $1 million on a levee study that focuses on a single element of the flood control system but doesn't guarantee physical improvements to the levee.

Opponents said the $530 tax is more than four times the $125 average parcel tax in Ross that pays for an integrated approach that includes flood control and habitat restoration.

The measure's proponents said Santa Venetia would flood without levees and fully operational pump stations.

Proponents said local money must be spent to get matching federal dollars and that responsible stewardship of the watershed and maintenance of the existing flood control measures that have kept Santa Venetia flood-free for almost 30 years are compatible goals.

Muir Beach's tax Measure E passed with 86 percent of the vote. It needed two-thirds approval.

The measure asked voters in the Muir Beach Community Services District to approve an annual parcel tax for four years to pay for capital improvements and maintenance of water supply and distribution equipment.

The tax, starting July 1, will be $3,250 on commercial parcels and $300 on each living structure on residential parcels and on all other parcels.

Measure F appears to have failed in the Novato Sanitary District, according to unofficial results.

The measure asked Novato Sanitary District voters to approve a $15.6 million service contract with Veolia Water West Operating Services to operate the city's wastewater treatment plant. It required a majority vote and received the approval of 49.2 percent of the voters.

Proponents said the measure would protect water quality, keep sewer rates low and maintain local control of wastewater facilities.

The District needs to employ technical experts to maintain its facilities, and the contract would save the district $7.2 million over five years compared to the District alone managing the facilities, the measure's supporters said.

Opponents said the contract allows the treatment plant to become a corporate profit center, has hidden costs and the projected savings are speculative.

Opponents also said Veolia has a troubling environmental record and runs one of the Bay Area's worst polluters, the Richmond sewer plant. They want the plant to be run by local public employees.


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