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Undergrounding Pole Tax
Dan Quirk | 23rd Street

Cartoon John Dempsey.
Click on cartoon to enlarge.

The Del Mar City Council voted 5-0 to start the process of putting a 1% sales tax measure on this November’s ballot, conditional upon seeing evidence of genuine interest from the community. The purpose of the tax is to support key infrastructure projects including undergrounding of all powerlines in the city, supporting the buildout of Shores Park and its stakeholders (park users, Del Mar Community Connections, Del Mar Foundation), and supporting the downtown business district (through streetscape improvements. We think this can be a win-win-win for all stakeholders in the city.

We have recently formed a grass root group to spread the word to members of the community. Enthusiasm for the proposal has been overwhelming. We signed up over 100 supporters almost immediately, and our conservative goal is to have over 1,000 by August. If it hasn’t happened already, expect someone to come knocking on your door in the not-too-distant future!

A few people I have spoken with are in favor of the idea, but they are concerned that the residents of Del Mar need more time to study this. We appreciate and respect that perspective and understand that there are still some small details to figure out, but my personal experience from talking with a number of residents in the last couple of weeks is that most of them “get it” almost instantly and are in favor of it. At its heart, this is a pretty simple proposal, and we are just getting started with our public outreach campaign!

We also just received some great news on the estimated cost of the undergrounding project. Recently, the City hired consultant Utility Specialists to provide an updated estimate on the cost of the undergrounding project. Duane Stroobosscher, the project leader, made a presentation to the Del Mar Finance Committee and the City Council. The bottom line total cost for the project is $16.1 million, much less than the previous $25-30 million ballpark estimate. The time to complete the project could be as little as five years.

As a reminder, this is a sales tax proposal with no direct costs or property tax increases to residents or home-owners. The vast majority of the sales tax (near 90%) is paid for by visitors, over 40% of which comes from the Fairgrounds. So if you are in favor of this idea to make Del Mar a safer and more beautiful city, please express your enthusiasm and join the growing list of supporters! Let’s make Del Mar beautiful!

 

 

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