Q. What is Measure B?
A. In 2000, Santa Clara County voters approved locally-controlled funding to meet the critical water needs of our area. That funding is set to expire unless voters renew it.
Measure B is a 15-year program to ensure a safe, reliable water supply for our area.
Q. Specifically, what will Measure B do?
A. Measure B will:
- Ensure a safe, reliable water supply for the future.
- Reduce toxins, hazards and contaminants, such as mercury and pharmaceuticals, in our waterways.
- Protect our water supply and local dams from the impacts of earthquakes and natural disasters.
- Restore fish, bird and wildlife habitat; provide open space access.
- Provide flood protection to homes, businesses, schools, streets and highways.
- Measure B will continue an existing, expiring parcel tax without increasing rates, and the Safe, Clean Water program has been developed to achieve these priorities.
Measure B will renew this existing, voter-approved local funding—without changing current tax rates.
Q. Does Measure B include fiscal accountability?
- All expenditures will be published annually.
- An independent monitoring committee (IMC) of citizens will provide oversight. The committee will include technical experts, and will conduct annual audits and provide annual reports. The IMC will also identify to the District Board any modifications that may be needed to meet the program priorities.
- Any updates or changes to the program will be made in publicly noticed meetings.
- Professional, independent audits will be conducted during the life of the program.
- Dedicated funding is included to bring together stakeholders to prioritize list and assess steam restoration projects, to ensure results and effective use of environmental protection resources.
- Circulation and public comment is required on large-scale projects through the California Environmental Quality Act process.
Q. Can senior citizens receive an exemption?
A. Yes, if Measure B passes, low-income senior citizen homeowners could receive an exemption for their primary residence through a simple application process.
Q. Why is Measure B necessary?
A. State and federal funding is diminishing and unreliable. Other District revenues are simply inadequate to fully ensure a safe, reliable water supply for the future, while providing other urgently-needed projects and programs to meet long-term water resource needs.
Since the passage of Clean, Safe Creeks in 2000, voter-approved local funding has been critical to helping meet our area’s need for clean, safe creeks and waterways. This local funding, which can’t be taken away by the state or federal government, will expire if voters don’t renew it.
If we do nothing, many critical water programs could be greatly reduced or eliminated altogether. The most significant impacts could be in the area of impaired water bodies, water quality, flood protection and stream stewardship projects. For example, our ongoing effort to reduce hazardous toxins and pollutants in our waterways, or our HAZMAT emergency response capabilities, could be significantly curtailed. Similarly, 66,000 parcels are slated to remain in the flood zone.
Measure B continues vital services from Clean, Safe Creeks Plan, and adds water supply and conservation projects. This will help ensure a stable and reliable funding source for a portion of the water supply projects and programs. Water ratepayers will still be contributing the majority of funding for water supply projects and the needed capital improvements.
Measure B will help ensure the future health, safety and supply of our local water resources. Without the continued funding, there could be major reductions and potential eliminations of existing programs and services, and the long-term goals of ensuring safe, clean, reliable water could be severely threatened.
Q. Why can’t Measure B wait?
A. We cannot wait until 2016 to pass Measure B. By then, essential local funding will have expired, and many vital local water supply and clean-up projects (including environmental programs) will have stopped or disappeared completely. We will have delayed urgent seismic upgrades for no good reason.
Reducing toxins, hazards and contaminants, such as mercury and pharmaceuticals, in our waterways improves people’s health as well as birds and fish. Some local dams and aging water supply pipelines are seismically inadequate and unprepared for earthquakes and natural disasters; they must be retrofitted to protect our community from water shortages during extended drought. We cannot delay these projects.
Measure B is vitally important to ensuring a safe, clean future supply.
Q. Will Measure B change my tax rates?
A. Measure B will not change current tax rates, but continue the current tax rate structure.
Q. When will Measure B appear on the ballot?
A. To ensure a safe and reliable water supply for our area, the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors has placed Measure B on the November 6, 2012 ballot.
Q. Who is eligible to vote on Measure B?
A. All registered voters in Santa Clara Valley Water District are eligible to vote on Measure B. To register to vote, please visit: sccgov.org/sites/rov.
Q. What level of support is required to pass Measure B?
A. We need at least 2/3 of voters to vote YES on Measure B—every single vote will matter. We will need everyone’s help to ensure a victory on Election Day!