San Jose voters will have the chance to authorize more than a billion in bonds to pay for things like street repairs and affordable housing.
On Friday, the final day to add items to the November ballot, the San Jose City Council voted to put a $650 million general obligation bond — with an average levy of 11 cents per $1,000 of assessed value — on the ballot. If residents approve the measure, the money would pay for upgrading emergency and disaster response, repaving streets and repairing other city infrastructure.
The council also voted to place a $450 million affordable housing bond — with an average levy of 8 cents per $1,000 of assessed value — on the ballot. While voters approved a $950 million bond at the county level in 2016 to permanently house homeless people, the new measure is broader and specific to San Jose, meaning the city could consider proposals for teacher housing, transitional housing or mixed-income housing. The council agreed that the measure should specify that at least a third of the money should go to very low-income people, earning 30 percent or less of the area’s median income, which is north of $100,000 for a family of four.
“It’s important for the city to have some control over its destiny in creating affordable housing,” Mayor Liccardo said at a council meeting Friday morning, where he joined all but one council member — Johnny Khamis — in voting to put the measure on the ballot.
Khamis said Friday that while he does see a big need for housing, he pointed out the county hasn’t spent down the 2016 bond yet and said the city has passed ordinances that require developers to build affordable housing in new construction or pay a fee.
“This issue is much bigger than just finding money,” Khamis said.
Councilman Lan Diep, who along with Khamis and Dev Davis are the most conservative members of the council, said he wants to focus on helping people buy homes and build equity voted in favor of putting the measure on the ballot, saying, “I know we can’t have the perfect be the enemy of the good.”
The council also decided to put several amendments to the city’s charter before voters in two ballot measures.
One measure would combine two unrelated things: council salaries and whether the council can put an item on the ballot that competes with a voter-sponsored initiative on the same ballot.
The council currently sets mayor and council salaries, but the measure will ask voters to authorize a shift that would create a baseline salary reviewed by a salary commission every five years, with automatic cost-of-living increases not to exceed five percent during the years between commissions.
Right now, the council can’t put a measure on that ballot that directly competes with a voter-sponsored measure on the same ballot. If it’s approved, the measure would allow competing measures but require two-thirds of the council to support placing such a measure on the ballot.
Source:: The Mercury News – Politics