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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
County

City and County of San Francisco
Proposition A - 2/3 Approval Required

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Election Results

Passing

190,708 votes yes (79.26%)

49,899 votes no (20.74%)

Public Health and Safety Bond
— undefined

To protect public health and safety, improve community medical and mental health care services, earthquake safety, and emergency medical response; to seismically improve, and modernize neighborhood fire stations and vital public health and homeless service sites; to construct a seismically safe and improved San Francisco Fire Department ambulance deployment facility; construct a seismically safe, modern animal shelter to care for displaced animals and control the spread of disease; and to pay related costs, shall the City and County of San Francisco issue $350,000,000 in general obligation bonds, subject to citizen oversight and regular audits?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote “yes,” you want the City to issue $350 million in general obligation bonds to:  

• fund seismic improvements and upgraded fire safety systems at the City’s public hospital and trauma center;

• renovate and expand the Southeast Health Center and other high-demand neighborhood health clinics operated by the City’s Department of Public Health;

• construct a higher-capacity, more efficient and seismically safer San Francisco Fire Department Ambulance Facility;

• repair and modernize neighborhood fire stations; and

• build, acquire, and improve facilities to better serve homeless individuals and families at homeless shelters and homeless service sites.

NO vote means

A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want the City to issue these bonds.

Summary

sfelections.org

Digest by the Ballot Simplification Committee

The Way It Is Now: The San Francisco Department of Public Health (Department) has operated San Francisco General Hospital on Potrero Avenue for 100 years. The campus was renamed the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center in 2015.

As the City’s public hospital and trauma center, it treats more than 100,000 patients a year. Some of the buildings on this campus do not meet seismic safety standards for hospitals and are not expected to remain functional in the event of a major earthquake. 

The Department’s 10 high-demand neighborhood health clinics are outdated and unable to meet current needs for families seeking medical and mental health care, urgent care, substance abuse, dental care and social services.

Many City neighborhood fire stations are in need of repair and modernization. The facility that houses City-owned ambulances does not meet seismic standards and is inadequate to ensure the most timely emergency response.

City-owned homeless shelters and service sites are inadequate and need repair.

To pay for capital projects such as these, the City borrows money by selling general obligation bonds in accordance with its 10-year Capital Plan. The City uses property tax revenues to pay the principal and interest on those bonds. The spending of bond revenue is overseen by the Citizens’ General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee.

The Proposal: Proposition A is an ordinance that would allow the City to borrow up to $350 million by issuing general obligation bonds. The City would use this money to build, acquire, and improve facilities for health care, emergency response and safety, and homeless services. The use of the funds would be as follows: 

• $272 million to fund seismic improvements and upgrades to fire safety systems at the City’s public hospital and trauma center; and renovate and expand the Southeast Health Center and other high-demand neighborhood health clinics to improve and expand access to mental health, urgent care, substance abuse, dental care, and social services; 

• $58 million to build a higher-capacity, more efficient and seismically safer facility for City-owned ambulances to improve emergency medical response, and to repair and modernize neighborhood fire stations; and 

• $20 million to build, acquire, and improve facilities to better serve homeless individuals and families at homeless shelters and homeless service sites.

Proposition A would allow an increase in the property tax to pay for the bonds, if needed. However it is City policy to limit the amount of money it borrows by issuing new bonds only as prior bonds are paid off. Landlords would be permitted to pass through up to 50% of any resulting property tax increase to tenants. 

Proposition A also would require the Citizens’ General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee to review the spending of bond funds. One-tenth of one percent (0.1%) of the bond funds would pay for the committee’s audit and oversight functions.

Approval of this measure requires two-thirds of votes cast.

Financial effect

City Controller via sfelections.org

Controller’s Statement on “A”

City Controller Ben Rosenfield has issued the following statement on the fiscal impact of Proposition A:

Should the proposed $350 million in bonds be authorized and sold under current assumptions, the approximate costs will be as follows: 

• In fiscal year 2016–2017, following issuance of the first series of bonds, and the year with the lowest tax rate, the estimated annual costs of debt service would be $10.4 million and result in a property tax rate of $0.0051 per $100 ($5.07 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.

• In fiscal year 2021–2022, following issuance of the last series of bonds, the estimated annual costs of debt service would be $30.7 million and result in a property tax rate of $0.0121 per $100 ($12.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.

• The best estimate of the average tax rate for these bonds from fiscal year 2016–2017 through 2037–2038 is $0.0092 per $100 ($9.04 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.

• Based on these estimates, the highest estimated annual property tax cost for these bonds for the owner of a home with an assessed value of $600,000 would be approximately $77.03.

These estimates are based on projections only, which are not binding upon the City. Projections and estimates may vary due to the timing of bond sales, the amount of bonds sold at each sale, and actual assessed valuation over the term of repayment of the bonds. Hence, the actual tax rate and the years in which such rates are applicable may vary from those estimated above. The City’s current debt management policy is to issue new general obligation bonds only as old ones are retired, keeping the property tax impact from general obligation bonds approximately the same over time.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

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