ORINDA -- Barely a month after the City Council voted to place a $20 million bond measure on the June 3 ballot to help address much-needed road and storm drain repairs, the council-authorized plan dependent on the bond money is getting a major overhaul.

Members of the city's Citizen Infrastructure Oversight Commission met last week to discuss their revised version of the 10-Year Road and Drainage Repairs Plan, in advance of the April 22 council meeting. City leaders are scheduled to review and approve the draft plan at that meeting.

The changes include the addition of nearly $6 million in revenue in one of the plan's four phases to help fund an estimated $66 million the city says is needed to bring roads and storm drains to "very good" condition, as defined by the industry standard "pavement condition index."

In 2012, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission rated the city's road network as having an overall "pavement condition index" of 50 or "good," with its residential roads rating 38, or "poor" -- some of the Bay Area's worst.

According to the revised 10-year plan, if voters authorize a series of sales tax and bond measures, the $66 million of revenue generated and to be appropriated annually by the City Council will bring all roads and drains up to an average PCI of 70, or "very good" condition, and not less than a PCI of 50, or "good."

Voters are set to decide in the June primary election whether to greenlight the plan's second phase -- a 20-year, $19.8 million bond measure that would be financed by bond sales of $10 million this July and in July 2017.


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If a two-thirds majority approves the measure, residents will then pay for the two bonds through a tax on assessed property values the city estimates will range from $13 to $20 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

Some residents are criticizing the city's plan over a lack of a "scope of work" letting voters know which roads will be fixed and when, and the cost estimates, among other details.

"The public must be provided this before voting whether to approve any bond initiative to repair our roads," wrote representatives of the community group Orinda Watch in a rebuttal against the ballot measure.

Resident Steve Cohn argued Wednesday that Orinda voters, who live in an affluent city, can afford more extensive repairs to their roads and drains.

Cohn also reiterated his belief that the current plan will not cover a $24 million shortfall at the end of its third phase resulting from a lack of maintenance funds that will total about $3 million annually once the roads are brought up to "good" condition. "The math just isn't there," he said about the plan.

Another resident criticized the previous council-approved iteration of the plan and urged the citizens commission to tell the council to change the existing plan and "be honest" with voters.

"I think the public is looking at the (citizens commission) to be the watchdog. We don't want the existing road plan to be a political plan; we want it to be a realistic plan," said resident Art Haigh.

The city adopted the plan in 2012 as a blueprint to fix its ailing roads and storm drains. Voters passed the first phase in Nov. 2012, approving a half-cent sales tax measure the city estimates will bring in about $1 million annually before sunsetting in 2022.

After the $19.8 million bond issuance, the city plans to go back to voters in 2018 to approve another possible bond or parcel tax measure of at least $25.5 million.

The fourth and final phase calls for an extension of the half-cent sales tax and other revenue sources for maintenance. That could go before voters in 2022.

Orinda currently uses gas tax revenues, Measure J funds, grants and proceeds from the Measure L half-cent sales tax to fund repairs.