The bond would be voted on and paid for only by the residents in the generally older, poorer, non-Mello-Roos areas of Antioch. If at least 55 percent of those voters approve the bond measure, it will result in a tax of $28 per $100,000 of the assessed value of a home or property each year for 30 years.
At last week's board meeting, two consultants and Facilities Director Tim Forrester argued in favor of going ahead with the bond measure this June. They pointed out that the repairs are necessary for the health and safety of the students, that the facilities will only worsen the longer the fixes are delayed, and that it really won't cost residents that much.
One consultant said the tax would be just $73.85 in the first year for the average home in the older area of Antioch, which was valued at $263,750 in 2006-07. That's the price of a meal for a family at Applebee's, he said. Board President Walter Ruehlig joked that it will soon be the price to fill a car's gas tank.
And that's the problem with asking residents who face significantly higher prices for gas, for food, for insurance and to heat their homes to then dig even deeper into their rapidly emptying wallets to pay more taxes, even if the money will go to local schools.
The bond will be in effect for 30 years, which means that that $73.85 meal at Applebee's is actually a commitment to pay for a $2,215 meal at a four-star restaurant in France.
With inflation, not only to the assessed value of homes but in the rate of the bond payment, many if not most residents will end up paying more than $3,000. That's money that could be used for a child's college fund or a childless couple's retirement.
With homes in foreclosure, the plunging stock market on a scary roller coaster ride, inflation on the increase and gloom and doom in the headlines, this is the wrong time for this bond measure. Perhaps things will improve by this summer and it can be placed on the November ballot.