Three ballot measures will go to Calaveras County voters in the Nov. 6 general election: Measures B, C and D.
Only one, Measure B, is up for a countywide vote. All three measures need a two-thirds supermajority to pass.
Measure B would maintain support for the county’s Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program.
The program is funded by a $1 annual fee added onto the license renewal costs for almost all vehicle owners in the county. The fee is $2 for some commercial vehicles.
The fee brings in about $60,000 annually to the county’s Code Enforcement Office for removal of abandoned vehicles in public rights-of-way, other public lands and also private property.
The program began in 1992 with a Board of Supervisors resolution, according Code Enforcement Officer Todd Barr, and an estimated 7,000 nuisance vehicles have been abated since then.
“It’s been a very successful program and continues to be successful,” Barr said. “We’ve made quite an impact.”
Once a car is marked for removal, owners have ten days to find another alternative before it is removed.
Barr said the number of vehicles removed rises and falls with the cost of steel and has dipped from about 800 two years ago to between 200 and 300 vehicles each of the last two years. He said when steel prices are high as they are now, the county benefits from free towing of junk vehicles.
Without the fee’s continuation, vehicle abatement would stop, he said.
The fee helps cover some of code enforcement’s overhead as Barr said officers spend about half their time dealing with abandoned vehicles and the other half on building issues.
It has never before gone directly to voters but is required to as a result of Proposition 26, an anti-fee initiative approved by California voters in 2010.
Copperopolis Fire Protection District voters will choose whether or not to spend up to $550,000 collected from parcel taxes to support fire and paramedic services through Measure C.
The measure is required under the Gann Limit, a measure California voters approved in 1979 that establishes a maximum tax amount to be spent on tax-funded government services.
Copperopolis voters have already agreed to exceed the amount to fund emergency services provided by the department, but the law requires a quadrennial renewal. A “no” vote does not stop the tax from being collected but does prevent the district from spending what it does collect.
The last renewal of the Gann Limit override garnered support of 84 percent of voters in a March 2009 special election.
The district’s most recent reaffirmation of the amount the district can receive in special parcel taxes was approved by 84 percent of registered voters in the district who cast votes in a March 2009 special election.
“Measure C is not a new tax or a tax increase. By approving Measure C, your taxes will not be increased in any way, but the Copperopolis Fire Protection District will be allowed to spend the taxes that have already been approved and collected,” Copperopolis Fire Chief Steve Kovacs said in a prepared statement. “If Measure C is not passed … this may mean the loss of the paramedic services and the potential loss of firefighter positions. As a result, residents might have to wait for up to 30 minutes for a paramedic response.
Measure D will go before voters of the small Circle XX Community Services District off Pool Station Road.
It seeks to increase an annual parcel fee from $300 to $400 to continue maintaining and improving roads in the Circle XX subdivision.
The parcel fee comes up for a vote once a decade, said district board member Debbie Caldwell.
Caldwell said residents were polled before putting the increase to a vote.
“We sent letters out to the people who are living in Circle XX,” she said. “The majority said they wanted it.”
All funds raised will go directly to private contractors to fix roads as the district has an all-volunteer board and no paid staff, Caldwell said.
“Oil has gone up,” she said. “The price of fixing the road has gone up.”
The district’s roads are a mix of asphalt, chip-seal and gravel and she said it is hoped more of them can be upgraded with the measure’s approval.
The Union Democrat is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Tuesday through Saturday. E-Edition or Print Plus subscribers have full access.
If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access. Circulation: 209-533-3614
Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties