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LWV League of Women Voters of California
Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 7, 2000 Election
Proposition A
Branch Library Bond
City of San Francisco

Placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors

218,378 / 74.4% Yes votes ...... 75,285 / 25.6% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Arguments |

Shall the City incur $105,865,000 of bonded indebtedness for the acquisition, renovation, and construction of branch libraries and other library facilities, other than the Main Library, and all other works, property and structures necessary or convenient for the foregoing purposes?

Proposition A would authorize sale of $105.86 million in general obligation bonds to renovate, modernize and expand 23 of San Francisco's 26 branch libraries. The project would include funds for new buildings for four libraries and would pay for construction of a new branch in Mission Bay. It would also finance development of space for a city archive at Brooks Hall and a support center for the library system. No bond money could be used to renovate the Main Library and no money is needed for three branches that were recently modernized.

New buildings in the Glen Park, Ingleside, Portola, and Visitation Valley neighborhoods would replace the small, cramped leased quarters these branches currently occupy. The Mission Bay branch would be erected in an affordable housing area. In addition, the planned improvements include seismic upgrades at 15 branches and expansion of 13 branches, including more space for children's services. The renovations would give the disabled full access to the branches, remove hazardous materials, modernize computer systems and improve electrical, plumbing and ventilation systems.

Fiscal Impact from the Controller:
Should the proposed bond be authorized and issued, in my opinion, the costs would be:
  • Bond Redemption: $105,865,000 +
  • Bond Interest: $84,810,315
  • Debt Service Requirement $190,675,315

Based on a single bond sale and level redemption schedules, the average annual debt requirements for twenty (20) years would be approximately $9,533,766, which is equivalent to one and thirty-four hundredths cents (0.0134) per $100 of assessed valuation in the current tax rate. The increase in annual tax for the owner of a home with a net assessed value of $300,000 would amount to approximately $39.18 per year if all bonds were sold at the same time. It should be noted, however, that the City typically does not issue all authorized bonds at one time. If these bonds were issued over several years, the actual effect on the tax rate would be less than the maximum amount shown above.

The City Charter imposes a limit on the amount of general obligation bonds the City can have outstanding at any given time. That limit is 3% of the assessed value of property in the City -- or about $2.1 billion. As of July 1, 2000, there were $916 million in general obligation bonds outstanding, which is equal to 1.3% of the assessed value of property. If all of the City's authorized bonds were issued, the total debt burden would be 2.6% of the assessed value of property. If voters approve the library bond on this ballot, the total authorized debt ratio would increase by 0.15% to 2.75% -- still within the 3% legal debt limit. Since many projects are planned over a number of years, it is extremely unlikely that the City would issue all the authorized debt at one time. For a more detailed discussion, please refer to 'An Overview of San Francisco's Debt,' contained in the San Francisco County Voter Information Pamphlet.

Arguments Submitted

Summary of Arguments FOR Proposition A:
San Francisco's branch libraries need modernization. Many of them have not been remodeled in over 50 years, resulting in antiquated equipment and unsafe, run-down buildings.

Most of the branches need seismic upgrades to make them safe in an earthquake, as well as elevators and ramps so that the disabled can use them.

More than two million children visited our libraries last year. Neighborhood libraries should provide a safe and pleasant after-school alternative to drugs and crime for children and an especially welcoming environment for seniors as well as other residents.

Prop E mandated that all 26 branch libraries remain open. It provided money for books and hours but did not cover new construction or renovation.

Four branch libraries are located in small, cramped leased quarters. Prop A will make it possible to move these branches to larger, City-owned buildings..

Summary of Arguments AGAINST Proposition A:
The money for branch library improvements should come from the general fund, not a bond issue. Why increase property taxes when there is a budget surplus?

This measure got on the ballot covertly. It was a rush job, done behind closed doors, without enough citizen input.

The library muffed the construction of the new Main Library. It may well do the same with the branch renovations.

With construction of new branches and expansion of existing ones, operating costs will increase without a commensurate increase in budget..

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San Francisco Chronicle

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Created: January 25, 2001 02:34
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