The Palo Alto City Council is backing the Santa Clara Valley Water District's effort to extend its so-called Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Plan for another 15 years.
Council members voted 8-0 in favor of a resolution supporting the plan Monday night and also called on the district to send it to voters on Nov. 6.
The plan would continue, but not raise, a special tax property owners currently pay to fund flood protection efforts and address water supply issues in the county.
The district's board of directors is expected to decide later this month whether to place the extended plan on the ballot, according to spokesman Rick Callender. The original plan passed by voters in 2000 is set to expire in 2016.
The plan earned the city council's backing largely because it now contains $35 million for key San Francisquito Creek flood control projects between Middlefield Road and the San Francisco Bay and $20 million for the preparation of tidal flood protection measures along the south shoreline of the Bay.
More specifically, the $35 million would provide 50-year flood protection, along with ecosystem and recreational benefits, between Middlefield Road and Highway 101 and 100-year flood protection between Highway 101 and the Bay, according to a report by Joe Teresi, a senior engineer with the city.
Voters appear willing to support an extension of the plan, according to Callender. Of 635 people polled, 69 percent
"I think there is a handy amount of support to move this along," Callender told the city council Monday.
The 2000 plan passed by voters authorized a special tax of $39 per year for a typical single-family parcel.
Due to annual inflation-based increase, the tax is now $55.84. If the extended plan is approved by voters, the new tax would replace the existing one in 2014 and last 15 years.
Passage of the plan could boost efforts by the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority to protect the cities of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park from a 100-year flood, which has a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year, according to Teresi's report.
The agency was formed after the creek overflowed its banks in 1998 and caused millions in damages.
"Passage of the ballot measure and the implementation of the projects included in the plan would lay the foundation for a potential JPA-sponsored ballot measure to generate the remaining funds needed for additional flood protection projects that would provide 100-year flood protection upstream of Highway 101," the report said.
Council Member Gail Price was absent from the Monday meeting.
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