Across the Area

Bonds, sales tax hike on Nov. 8 ballot

VOTERS in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area will face several money measures on the ballot.

VOTERS in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area will face several money measures on the ballot.

In the general election this Nov. 8, there’s more are stake than just political jobs. Voters in local Orange County cities and school districts will be asked to cough up close to a quarter of a billion dollars in revenue for education and keeping city hall open.

Four school districts in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster have bond issues on the ballot, and the City of Westminster is asking for 1 cent sales tax levy to help it out of its financial hole.

Here’s a summary of measures involving our cities and school systems.

Garden Grove Unified School District: Asking voters for a bond issue of $311,000,000 to modernize and upgrade campuses. The GGUSD is a K-12 district that serves most of Garden Grove and parts of Westminster. On the ballot, it’s Measure P.

Huntington Beach City School District:  $159,850,000 bond issue for school repair and modernization. The HBCSD serves K-8 students in southern Huntington Beach. On the ballot, it’s Measure Q.

Ocean View School District: $169,000,000 bond issue for school repair and modernization. The K-8 district serves northern Huntington Beach and part of Westminster. On the ballot, it’s Measure R.

Westminster School District: $76,000,000 bond issue for school modernization and upgrades. The WSD serves most of Westminster and a portion of Garden Grove. On the ballot, it’s Measure T.

City of Westminster: The city is seeking the sales tax of 1 percent with a sunset date of 2022. Revenue from the tax would bring in an estimated $13.9 million to a city which has an annual deficit of around $5 million. The budget has been balanced in recent years by drawing down reserves, which are now close to being depleted. On the ballot, it’s Measure SS.

Also, the Fountain Valley School District and Orange Unified School District, which serve small portions of our coverage area, are also seeking to have voters approve the sale of bonds.

In the case of bond issues, money raised can only go to school construction and equipment; it can’t be used for salaries or benefits. Under state law, at least 55 percent of voters must approve a bond issue.

Sales tax revenue goes into the general fund and can be used for any lawful purpose, although in Westminster – as in most cities – the largest chunk by far of the budget goes to police and fire services. Approval of the sales tax in Westminster would only require a simple majority: 50 percent plus one.

For more on these measures, details are available at ocvote.com .

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