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Voters may be asked to decide how to spend money Robert Moreno | Sat, Apr 02 2016 12:00 PM

When voters hit the polls in November to select their city representatives, they may also be deciding whether their city or schools need upgrades.

Come Nov. 8, Chula Vista voters in the southwest and southeast will elect one candidate for their respective district.
Meanwhile voters could also be faced with deciding three potential bond measures.

For the past two years, the city of Chula Vista has been exploring ways to offset its $600 million infrastructure deficit.

The city, through an Asset Management Program Advisory Committee, has suggested a sales tax increase or a potential bond to fund the city’s infrastructure needs.

City Manager Gary Halbert said a half-cent sales tax increase would generate about $15 million a year, while the city could possibly seek a $200 million bond.

Halbert said he would present an infrastructure report to the council at an April council meeting when council members will decide if they want to proceed with a bond.

The city has already conducted public outreach and additional research to see if Chula Vistans would back a potential bond measure.

True North Surveying and Mapping LLC, asking a series of questions about infrastructure priorities, including if residents would support a possible bond measure and other funding sources, also conducted a 10-minute telephone survey last year.

Southwest Chula Vista resident Cheryl Perez was polled via telephone about her thoughts of an infrastructure bond.

She said with the information she has, she would vote against a bond or a sales tax increase because the math doesn’t add up. She said a $200 million bond and a sales tax increase that would bring in $15 million a year still falls short of the $600 million needed.

 “The numbers are not adding up for me,” she said.

Halbert said while a bond or a sales tax increase won’t offset the city’s needs, it’s a good start.

Sweetwater Union High School District officials have not yet decided if they want to seek a bond but board President

Nick Segura and board member Paula Hall asked the district’s bond council to conduct a presentation about the necessary steps needed to put a bond on a ballot.

 “The only thing that’s happened at Sweetwater is that we’ve had bond council come in and give a presentation for us, if the board wanted to put a bond on the 2016 election,” he said. “That’s all that’s happened.” Segura said.

District officials say more money is needed to complete the district’s Long Range Facility Master Plan and a bond may be needed.

An unidentified company not associated with the district or Southwestern College polled residents last month wanting to see if they would support a $1 billion bond for the Sweetwater Union High School District or a $200 million for SWC.

Parent Tino Martinez received a phone call from the pollster whom he suspects was from a special interest group. He said if both Sweetwater district and SWC considered bonds he would vote against it because of those districts’ history with bonds.

“I would strongly oppose any bond at this point,” he said. “Because of the history of the accountability with our money. I live in the Castle Park area; I’m still waiting for our auditorium to see any of that money. I’m still waiting for our drama department to see any of that money. I’m still waiting for that money to come to the school.

Segura agreed that many schools in the district are outdated and run down.

Southwestern College is gathering feedback to see if the community would back a bond measure.

Just like the Sweetwater Union High School District, college officials have not decided on a bond but want to research the idea.

 “The need (for a bond) is obvious at the college, but whether the community thinks so or not is something that we would like to know,” said governing board member Humberto Peraza. “It’s really an investment in the community, but the community as a whole has to decide whether that investment is something that they want to support.”

Peraza said many of the college’s building are old and worn-our and a bond could help with the construction of new buildings. He also said the district is finally carrying out plans on its vacant empty lot and is soon to build a new math and science building.

“There’s not enough money in the $389 million (Proposition R) to rebuild all the infrastructure on campus,” he said.

“The campus is pretty old.”

At its March 22 meeting, the college’s governing board approved conducting a public opinion poll of voters in the SWC district for a General Obligation Bond in November.

Peraza said he would want to wait for the results of the poll before deciding whether or not the college should move forward to placing a bond on the ballot.

With SWC, the city of Chula Vista and the Sweetwater Union High School District exploring bond ideas, Peraza said he is worried bond measures may inundate voters.

“If there are three, four bond measures or more on a particular ballot, there is some concern as a voter and a taxpayer,” he said.

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sosocal Says:

Sat, Apr 09 2016 09:47 AM

I would love to see a chart that illuminates what was promised vs. what was delivered with regard to the previous bond measures before even considering another bond measure. It seems there is much repetition in the description of what will be done, yet the actual projects do not get done. Why? What happened to the money? Where is the forensic audit? Do you really think we the public are nothing but chumps--or drunks to be "rolled", pockets picked--and then left in the gutter? Cut the nonsense, and give us the truth.

anniej Says:

Sun, Apr 03 2016 10:00 PM

The Voters of the South Bay are LONG PAST 'trust us' - been there done that for HOW MANY YEARS??????? SUHSD's Prop O Audit will be the report card that will serve as the judge as to how much change has really happened. While ALL of our students are deserving of the best schools our monies can buy, simply throwing money at a problem is not going to solve the problem. PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE we voted in Prop BB at $165 million, Prop O at $644 million, an undisclosed total of State Matching funds not to mention MELLO on the east side - and now they want more without any Policy Changes to show. I agree with Mr. Martinez - not at this time!!! You show me change, you show me Quality Project Management and Fiscal responsibility THEN I WILL SHOW YOU MY MONEY!!!!!!

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