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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Worried about bond measures

Dear Editor:

This recent spate of bond measures for the WCCUSD has me really worried
because the increases on our property tax bills are going to be huge.

First, we have the $40 million school bond 98. Eighteen months ago we
had Measure M or school bond 00 and now the district is asking for another
bond measure of $300 mill. It is no accident that if Measure D passes we will
have $490 mill in bonds approved for issuance. Our bonded indebtedness limit
is $500 mill. It was disingenuous of School Trustee George Harris when he
told the El Cerrito Council that if they agreed to support Measure D the
District wouldn't ask for more. They won't be able to ask for more if Measure
D passes.

In an article dated Feb 27th Kara Shire reported that if Measure D passes
the impact on our property tax bill would be $82.77 per $100,000 of assessed
valuation peaking at $117.35. For my property, around $300,000 in assessed
valuation this would mean an immediate increase from $75 to $248.31 peaking
at $352.05. This does not include the District's special assessment, known
as the Maintenance and Recreation Assessment District, which is a flat $72 a
year on our tax bill whatever ones property is assessed at. Including that,
my bill will go to $320.31 peaking at $424.05. This is an increase of over
300%. The $72 assessment is renewable each year by the District.

I have a proposal to make. If Measure D passes the District will
voluntarily not renew M.R.A.D. as a salve to the property tax payers in this
school district. Since the District will have brought us up against our
bonded indebtedness limit this could be recognition of the staggering
increase property tax payers will be shelling out. Remember that the School
District is also required by law to set aside 2% of its annual budget for
repairs and maintenance.

If Measure D passes, this could be a good will gesture toward the
taxpayers of West County by the School District and recognition that we all
have limits on our checkbooks.

Rebecca Hazlewood
Run dates: 2002-02-28 - 2002-03-05

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