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By Tim Hunt

A tax grab that likely goes no where

Uploaded: Apr 20, 2017

You’ve got to give Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, some credit. He’s willing to take on the politically powerful East Bay Regional Parks District to put public safety ahead of parks.
Frazier introduced legislation to divert property taxes from the park district so the funds can be used to re-open three mothballed fire stations in eastern Contra Costa County. Park district officials estimated that it would take about 8 percent of its operating budget.
Frazier isn’t proposing a small grab—his bill not only would divert the park district share of East County property taxes, but would take an additional $10.1 million from taxes paid on properties throughout the two-county district. Good luck on that one. It’s a reasonable argument in his district, but falls apart when applied throughout Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
The challenge for the East Contra Costa Fire District is its share of the property tax, dating from 1978 when Proposition 13 passed, is 7 percent. That’s half or one-third of what other county fire districts received and was based on the population then. The East County area has soared in population to about 110,000 people, but the percentage has no increased.
Three of the eight fire stations have closed and a fourth is scheduled for closure in June if no additional funds are located. East County voters have rejected tax measures to put more money into the fire district so Frazier believes the park district can do without money much easier than the cities or school districts in his area.
Fire protection versus parks seems simple, although there is the reality that voters in the area four times have voted down paying additional taxes—often with good cause on poorly drafted measures.
Good news continued last month for Sunflower Hill, which received a unanimous approval from the Livermore City Council for its project on east First Street. The 44 units will be constructed for adults with special needs. With Pleasanton’s approval of its Stanley Boulevard project, there will be 77 units where adults can live independently from their families.
MidPen Housing, which is the developer of the rebuilt Kottinger Gardens for low-income senior housing in Pleasanton, is partnered with Sunflower on the Livermore project.
Long-time Livermore residents, Luana and Tom Layton sold the historic property to Sunflower and the organization worked with the Livermore historic groups to preserve the old house on the site.