The question of raising taxes came up for discussion during a special study session regarding deferred maintenance and infrastructure backlog within the city of San Jose. The city needs at least $915 million in one-time funding and an additional $45 million for ongoing funding needs if we want to catch up with our projects.
You may be asking yourself how the city came to these numbers and why the city allowed our backlog to become so poor and what exactly is the best method to pay for so many projects?
One-time funding examples would be opening the Ryland Pool again, completely rebuilding streets like Newhall and Mackey, replacing 40-year-old equipment at the water pollution control plant, replacing and moving the old IT infrastructure from the old to the new City Hall so we could move forward in selling old City Hall.
Ongoing funding would include basic street paving, replacing city vehicles with clean-fuel vehicles, park maintenance, etc. Some say if we don’t act now, we face the possibility of the these costs increasing in the future, which will only mean that the taxpayers of San Jose will be paying more. For example, we need $600,000 to replace roofing components on city buildings. If you don’t fix a leaky roof then you have water damage which would cost more to fix.
Here are some numbers for you about San Jose Infrastructure:
517 miles of roads in poor condition;
681 miles of roads overdue for maintenance;
110 miles of damaged curbs and gutters;
$5.8 million annually to fully fund sidewalk repairs.
The city council may be looking to ask the voters if they are willing to pay more with the options including a parcel tax, sales tax, or raising construction and conveyance taxes. The most likely would be a parcel tax for property owners.
I am not sure that voters support tax increases without trusting that government will use the money as it was intended, so I am curious to know what your thoughts are.
Are you willing to pay more in taxes?
How much more would you be willing to pay per year?
Would you be more inclined to pay if the benefits were promised to be delivered in a specific area or district surrounding your home?
If not, what would you do differently than the city does today?