Kensington Measure L on the June 3 ballot seeks authority to borrow up to $2 million to renovate and upgrade the community center.
The bond repayment plan is fiscally responsible. Assuming property values increase, the tax rate, starting at $14 per $100,000 assessed value, will decrease during the 30-year repayment period.
While we tepidly endorse Measure L, we are mindful that backers and ballot materials misrepresent the project's purpose. There is a much less expensive option, with few or no new taxes, to meet the stated goal of meeting safety, accessibility and health codes.
But backers also want to change the aesthetics and function of the buildings to increase community use and rental opportunities. That's what Measure L would enable.
Meanwhile, we remain concerned about the community service board's management of the district. For example, most property owners pay special property taxes of $515 per year to help fund police. The district, in turn, provides police officers and dependents free health care. And if they retire from the district with at least five years' experience, they get health care for life. That's expensive.
The fund for those retiree health benefits is more than $2 million short, and the district's annual costs are more than, for example, the bond payments that would be required for Measure L.
That's why our support for this simple bond proposal is tempered.