Almost half a million assessment notices went out to Santa Clara County property owners today, and following three years of minimal or negative growth in assessed property values, the county reports its first solid increase since 2008. Overall, total net assessed value of all real business and personal property values increased by 3.25 percent to $308.8 billion.
Officials for Santa Clara County went back on the offensive regarding Redevelopment Agency funds this past week, deciding to direct $30 million in property taxes to schools rather than pay back a loan from the San Francisco 49ers.
A couple weeks back, I received some troubling news from the California Moderate Party. After three years of toiling in the weeds of The Golden State’s political fringes, Ash Roughani finally decided to throw in the towel on his latest effort to establish a genuine, grassroots third party. As a Democratic activist, it would seem odd for me to lament the loss of what could only have amounted to another siphon of progressive votes at a time when the left is so fractured that we can’t capitalize on our own victories. But the failure of the Moderate Party is just another symptom of the slow death of the political party system as a whole.
Last week, I attended the Oversight Board for the Successor Redevelopment Agency public meeting. One person who watched the meeting said it was “like viewing the reading of a will.” That was a fair analogy. In the case of the deceased RDA (56 years old), the deceased had property it owns but comes accompanied with liens from the County and JP Morgan. The meeting also showed that while the deceased was alive, Sacramento poached over $100 million from the estate, which disrupted RDA’s ability to pay planned debt installments over a period of 20 years.
Kicking off the first of three budget workshops this week, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors launched on Tuesday the first review of a proposed budget that will have to cut $219.6 million for the upcoming fiscal year. The proposed budget calls for an estimated 110 layoffs, 122 county employees would be bumped to lower-paying positions, and 300 would be transferred to different departments.
In an article published by the Mercury News, San Jose State Professor Larry Gerston advanced the argument that huge costs savings could be realized if the county’s many school districts were consolidated. Great gains could also be achieved if police and fire services were re-aligned countywide.