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City to seek fixes for flood control systems

By Mark Abramson
San Mateo County Times

December 31, 2007 BURLINGAME — City Council members will start the new year by considering ways to fix the city's aging flood control infrastructure. City Manager Jim Nantell said Friday that he plans to ask the council at its Jan. 7 meeting to either approve plans to take a $35 million-to-$44 million bond measure or a community facilities district to the voters to pay for the work.

Recent history suggests that it could be difficult to pass such a bond measure, Nantell said.

The $44 million Measure H bond initiative for flood control fell a few percentage points short of the two-thirds vote it needed in November 2006. A facilities district would also need a two-thirds vote to pass.

After Measure H failed, state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Mateo, and Sen. Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, introduced a state constitutional amendment in May that would allow cities to charge residents a rate to maintain, operate and upgrade flood control and storm drain systems without having to pass a local initiative. That amendment, known as SCA12, needs to be approved by two-thirds of the state Legislature and a majority of voters statewide.

The city could go to voters with another bond in June 2008, but it would take at least until August 2008 and an estimated $50,000 to do the necessary work to prepare a facilities district proposal, Nantell said.

A citywide community facilities district could be done in a number of ways, including making property owners pay an amount based on the size of their land or by using some other formula, he said.

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