FORT BRAGG, 11/10/23 —
Initial election night returns showed 81 percent of Fort Bragg voters said yes to renewing the half cent sales tax that has funded city road repairs for the past 20 years (you can see the current election results here). In 2004 and 2014, voters authorized the sales tax for the next 10 years. This time, the tax does not sunset, or has no time limit.
Assessor-Clerk Recorder-Registrar of Voters at Mendocino County Katrina Bartolomie said ballots postmarked before the election will be counted as long as they arrive by Tuesday, Nov. 14. She expects to certify the election next Friday. The initial vote went 734-172 for the tax. With only 66 percent needed to pass, the election night vote was well above the needed threshold. She said there were only four provisional ballots.
The initial turnout in the mail-in election was tabulated at 23 percent of Fort Bragg’s just under 3900 registered voters, one of the lowest in memory. That percentage is likely to creep up a couple of points by Friday, but is very low historically, Bartolomie said. By contrast, about 59 percent of registered Mendocino County voters cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election. If the 81 percent yes vote doesn’t change much when all votes are tallied, that would be one of the higher percentages a tax measure has passed by, she said.
City Manager Peggy Ducey said the city was delighted with the outcome and praised the work of city staff in explaining the measure and the need for it. She noted that the bad weather last winter had reminded many people how important it was for the city to keep up on road repairs.
For many people in the county election day went unnoticed. There were no other items on the ballot on Tuesday. The tax that Fort Bragg voters said yes to Tuesday won’t begin until 2025 The current tax expires at the end of 2024, meaning the city had a lot of time to pass the text, but chose to get it done sooner.
“With the value of the dollar decreasing everyday It is important to keep the revenue stream for road repairs coming in. The cost to pave a mile of streets has nearly tripled compared to what it was just a few years ago,” said Fort Bragg Mayor Bernie Norvell.
“I am thankful but not surprised that our community saw the value in this tax. Kudos to public works for staying on top of this, he added.
The ten-year average annual revenue from the tax is $962,700, the ballot material on the county website shows.
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