Actually, the 2006 study did find significant cost savings to the tune of $1.5M. I am happy to get the full report to anyone who wishes to read it.
“Biting the bullet” now pulls the rug out from under all these rural students who have been having disruptions to their education on a regular basis since 2015. Closing a school without the data from the unification study that is currently underway is not the most responsible thing for our community to do to protect current students as well as the quality of public education in the West County for generations to come.
Measure A is a $48 / year parcel tax (which does not raise net tax bills because it replaces the expiring Measure K which was approved in 2012) is a small price to pay to make changes with a considered approach rather than due to a crisis response.
Keep in mind that senior citizens, people on SSI disability & owners of contiguous parcels can get waivers for the tax.
Measure B - the TOT solves an urgent need to provide sufficient EMS / Paramedic / Ambulance service at the coast. The Bodega Bay Fire Protection District cannot keep up with the demand for increased services due to tourism. Without the passage of Measure B, we will all be less safe at the coast as the district will need to consider even reduced staffing models from where they are currently. It makes perfect sense to tax tourists fairly to provide emergency readiness for these critical services.
Measure B also facilitates the consolidation of the BBFPD into Sonoma County Fire District. This makes perfect sense and is a great solution to modernizing and streamlining these agencies.
In a similar way, Measure B will provide short-term funding to assist our 11 school districts to consolidate (unify) subject to the feasibility study. One of the challenges in 2006 was that the cost to make the changes would not have been funded. Measure B provides assistance with these expenses, helping our community modernize and improve the delivery of educational programming and also saving taxpayers money in the long run.
After the funds from B are no longer needed to aid with unification, the funds will continue to be used ONLY in West County (including Bodega Bay & the areas served by Shoreline school district) for programs such as affordable child care, adult / senior education, career education, job training and more. They will not be tied to school districts.
Measure B is West County Funds for West County Future. Why wouldn’t we want this?
The opposition’s main point is that the 4% tax could hamper recovery and tourists would not come. This perspective is based in an unfounded fear. Every area that has put similar taxes into effect have seen no loss in occupancy or rate.
This has not been the case in West Marin or any other place that has done a similar increase. I have searched and found no evidence of this. The opposition campaign has offered no evidence of this.
In fact, when the TOT in Sonoma County increased from 9% to 12% January 1, 2017, the county experienced a year-over increase from 2016 in destination spending, industry earnings, and industry employment. Also, in 2017, Sonoma County lodging experienced a 5.7% increase in year-over Average Daily Rate.
- this data comes from the 2018 Sonoma County Tourism Bureau annual report.
Also, Measure B is endorsed by eight labor unions. Labor unions tend not to support efforts that result in job loss. (Teamsters LOCAL 665, Operating Engineers Local Union 3, West Sonoma County Teachers’ Association, SEIU Local 1021, North Bay Labor Council, Sonoma County Professional Firefighters International, Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 551)