It’s always tough with two competing and necessary assessment measures on the ballot. Nobody wants to see their property taxes go up twice in one election.
But like Measures D and E are necessary to create and fund a much-needed new ambulance district, Measure F is a necessity to repair our mold-riddled and deteriorating schools.
The $16 million in bond money sought would leverage state funds for the ongoing Trinity Alps Unified School District project, which includes tearing out and replacing drywall, flooring, ceilings and walls found to have mold or asbestos and then rebuilding to modern standards including ADA compliance.
The removal of mold and asbestos is already mostly complete, but most of the facilities still need to be rebuilt. There is also the cost of housing students in portable buildings that were brought in.
The $16.67 million bond measure seeks an annual property tax of 6 cents per $100 of assessed value, which comes to $60 per $100,000 valuation. The tax would be collected for 28 years.
Measure F needs voter approval of 55 percent plus one to pass. If successful it will apply to properties throughout the district, which includes not just Weaverville but communities with feeder schools to the high school from Coffee Creek south to Douglas City and west to Burnt Ranch.
The district is applying for hardship and facilities funding from the state. One of those applications has already been rejected. The district will appeal, District Supt. Jaime Green said, but from what state officials have told him, “The state would like to see local communities have skin in the game.”
If the ballot measure fails, the state expects the district to try again, Green said, adding that one misconception in the community is if the measure fails twice the state will fund the project 100 percent.
One could lay a good part of the blame on the state, which has skated on the construction boom of the 1950s-60s for decades without a whole lot of maintenance or rebuilding plans. Trinity High School turned 50 this year; portions of Weaverville Elementary School are near 70.
State and regional officials could have, and should have had a replacement plan in place for deteriorating schools throughout the state as they neared the end of their lifespan. But they didn’t, preferring to piece-meal bond measures as they thought they could get them passed. But playing the blame game won’t get our schools cleaned up and rebuilt.
So it’s up to us In Trinity County to roll up our sleeves and make it happen.
We urge a Yes vote on Measure F.