School bond measure gets opposition; no formal dissent toward library, Nevada City tax initiatives | TheUnion.com

School bond measure gets opposition; no formal dissent toward library, Nevada City tax initiatives

A local ballot measure that, if passed, would enable improvements to Nevada County high schools through a bond issuance, is the only issue to garner formal opposition, elections records show.

Measure B, which seeks to use up to $47 million in bonds to pay for school upgrades and improvements, is opposed by Citizens for Better Schools. Arguments for and against the measure became available on Monday to the public, as did arguments in favor of Measures A and C.

Measure A would raise an existing sales tax for the Nevada County Library to a quarter-cent. Measure C would implement a three-eighths-of-a-cent sales tax for Nevada City, which would go toward the city’s police and fire services.

Measure B, which needs 55 percent of the vote to pass, would increase property taxes for those who live in the Nevada Joint Union High School District.

“That would be on their property tax bill,” said Sue Horne, the county’s tax assessor.

A tax rate statement estimates homeowners would pay an average of about $15 per $100,000 of their homes’ assessed value over the life of the bonds. That means someone who owns a home with an assessed value of $200,000 would pay an extra $30 each year, if Measure B passed.

The bonds would pay for the improvements. The tax levy would pay the principal and interest of the bonds.

“Fifty-six-year-old Nevada Union High School requires new water, gas, sewer and utility lines along with new roofing, painting and accessibility upgrades,” supporters state in their arguments.

“Thirty-year-old Bear River High School needs new heating and air conditioning systems, new roofing, revamped kitchen facilities and classroom upgrades,” it continues.

Supporters include Grass Valley Councilwoman Lisa Swarthout and State Farm insurance agent Mike Bratton.

Opponents say voters should oppose Measure B because all of the School Accountability Report Cards state the facilities are in good condition, that enrollment is falling and that the district eventually would abandon the improved facilities.

“The closure of a major high school campus is inevitable and will probably take place within the next five to 10 years,” opponents state. “If this bond is passed and millions of dollars of additional facilities are added, then the financial loss to taxpayers will be that much greater when one of the campuses is forced to close.”

Opponents include Wade Freedle, who also opposed an August 2015 proposed tax increase in the Higgins Fire Protection District. That tax measure, which needed 66.7 percent of the vote to pass, failed.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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