Burlingame council weighs infrastructure bond 

Second time’s a charm?

The City Council must decide at a special meeting Wednesday whether to put a bond measure on the June ballot that, if approved, would raise $37 million to update the flood control system and make seismic safetyimprovements to Burlingame Recreation Center.

If the council opts against a June attempt, any measures for flood control likely won’t hit the ballots until 2008 because of a possible bond for the Burlingame School District, City Manager Jim Nantell said.

"This is the go or no-go meeting," Nantell said.

Measure H, the city’s first attempt at passing a $44 million bond measure to fund these projects, failed in November at the polls by slightly more than two percentage points.

The council in January asked staff to consider the feasibility of a $37 million bond, $2 million of which would go toward the recreation center project. In addition to the bond, consultant De La Rosa & Co. Investment Bankers recommended forming a community facilities district, which works similarly to a parcel tax because it takes parcel size into account when determining how the tax should be levied citywide, Nantell said.

"I actually haven’t made up my mind," Mayor Terry Nagel said. "But I do have a lot of questions."

Meanwhile, Burlingame School District Superintendent Sonny Da Marto said that the district will start surveying the community this spring in support of a November bond measure to rehabilitate the district’s six schools.

"We’d be shooting each other in the foot," Nantell said of a bond attempt in November.

A bond requires a two-thirds majority to pass, which Nantell said can be almost impossible if there is any organized opposition to the measure.

Organized opposition came last year in the form of No to Measure H, a group of homeowners who said the measure would unfairly burden recent homebuyers. Lorne Abramson, a leading member of the group, did not return calls seeking comment Sunday, but has said in the past that a community facilities district would be more desirable for him.

A City Council study session on the flood financingstarts at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Conference Room A in City Hall, 501 Primrose Road. The regular meeting starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Council Chambers in City Hall.


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