Measure T funding plans top San Jose City Council agenda

From 388 miles of street repairs to two new fire stations, flood protection and an emergency operations center, San Jose elected leaders on Tuesday will discuss projects funded by a newly-passed bond.

Measure T, a $650 million bond for infrastructure, public safety and disaster preparedness, was approved by nearly 70 percent of voters in November. City leaders on Tuesday will present a plan to the City Council for upcoming projects and programs funded by Measure T, including:

  • Building two new fire stations, No. 32 and 36
  • Relocating fire stations, No. 8 and 23
  • Building a long-delayed fire station at 2191 Lincoln Avenue, No. 37
  • Building a new police training center, 911 center and emergency operations center
  • Repairing 388 miles of San Jose streets
  • Flood control, open space and environmental protections of lands such as Coyote Valley
  • Repairs and seismic retrofitting at various bridge overpasses
  • Upgrading street lamps with LED lights
  • Building a new hangar at the airport for the San Jose police department

More than 40 letters were sent to the council prior to the Tuesday meeting in support of using $50 million of the funds to protect and preserve Coyote Valley. The addressees ranged from residents to groups like the Sierra Club and Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority to former U.S Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell.

Late last month, the City Council held a study session on Coyote Valley’s future. Dozens showed up holding ‘Protect Coyote Valley’ signs and urged the council not to develop in the area.

A proposal from Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmembers Raul Peralez, Lan Diep, Dev Davis and Johnny Khamis asked that city staff look into incorporating sustainable buildings into Measure T projects.

“Understanding how we can continue to build and retrofit our municipal facilities to a higher standard will play an important role in meeting our Climate Smart goals,” read the memo from the mayor and four councilmembers.

Last February, the City Council adopted ClimateSmart San José – a Paris Agreement-like carbon reduction plan that outlined a 6.5 percent reduction in emissions each year until 2050. Some councilmembers are now asking staff to research zero net carbon buildings to help reach that goal.

If approved, City Manager David Sykes would return to the Transportation and Environmental Committee in the next six to eight months with an update.

Budget review

The mid-year budget review is also on deck at Tuesday’s San Jose City Council meeting.

The council is slated to review an updated budget based on the performance of the first six months of the city’s 2018-2019 fiscal year. Much of the review of the $3.7 billion budget will focus on rebalancing various priorities – like public safety – in the city’s general fund.

The budget review will also cover special funds that encompass one of the city’s top priorities: housing. City staff recommends increasing funding in the “Low and Moderate Income Housing Asset Fund” by $180,000. According to city documents, $100,000 of that would go to consultant services for 700 new units. The other $80,000 would go toward matching a grant from The Silicon Valley Community Foundation to create an affordable housing rental database and web portal.

The website would model a similar portal in San Francisco that allows residents to search for affordable housing units.

The council will also be reviewing a vehicle impound fee adjustment as part of the budget review. Last year, a city audit recommended the Police Department reassess the vehicle impound release fee, saying a fee reduction may be justified because many impounds are conducted by parking and traffic control officers. Their time is considered less costly than police officers.

After an analysis by the Police Department, staff is recommending that the council adjust the fee from $290 to $122 per release. The previously adopted budget estimated $903,000 in revenue from the current Vehicle Impound Fee. If the new fee is adopted, staff estimates $820,000 in revenue with a difference that can be made up by adjusting other city fees.

A Name for San Jose BART

Also on Tuesday, the City Council is expected to submit a name to the VTA for one of San Jose’s future BART locations.

According to a memo signed by Mayor Sam Liccardo and Councilmembers Raul Peralez and Magdalena Carrasco, the formal name of the new station will be 28th Street/Little Portugal. A recent survey on potential names for the station collected over 5,000 responses – 63 percent of them were in favor of Little Portugal.

“The area is deeply rooted in the Portuguese culture including celebrating this year what will be the 100-year anniversary of the Five Wounds Portuguese National Church,” the memo said.

The station is part of the second phase of BART’s expansion to Silicon Valley.

Contact Grace Hase at grace@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @grace_hase on Twitter.

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