The City of St. Helena is considering placing a general obligation bond measure on a 2022 ballot, as it scrambles to make up for decades of underinvestment in infrastructure.
Presented Tuesday with several options for short-term funding of infrastructure, the City Council was most interested in a general obligation (GO) bond, which would be backed by an ad valorem property tax.
A bond measure would require two-thirds voter approval and could go before voters either during the June primary election or the November general election. The city last used the method to fund the firehouse in the 1990s.
Low interest rates make this an ideal time to pursue bonds, according to City Manager Mark Prestwich, who recommended hiring a consultant to conduct a poll before determining the size of the bond measure or which projects it would fund.
There’s no shortage of options. Studies have identified more than $11 million in necessary maintenance of city buildings over the next 20 years and $34.7 million in necessary maintenance of storm drains, water and sewer systems by 2030. A Mills Lane storm drain that’s already in the design phase is facing a $4.6 million shortfall.
In all, St. Helena has $65 million in largely unfunded infrastructure projects, not including $24 to $54 million for a new City Hall or $6 million for a new police station.
A financial diagnostic performed by a consultant issued two “warnings” related to the city’s ability to maintain its facilities and roads.
Aside from the potential bond, city staff will report back to the council on possibly leasing or selling underused city property, including the former City Hall site on Main Street, the current interim City Hall on Railroad Avenue, and the Carnegie Building.
The council decided not to pursue a real estate transfer tax, at least for now. Such a tax would require ballot measures making St. Helena a charter city and imposing the tax. In 2014, a 1% transfer tax was estimated to raise $1.6 million a year.
Catch up on Napa County's top news stories
In case you missed it, here is a look at the most-read stories on NapaValleyRegister.com.
Get unlimited digital access to the Napa Valley Register for just $1 for your first 6 months! Enjoy every article without restrictions and find tons of subscriber-only perks, such as access to our daily eEdition. Click here for details!
Little Omar Gonzalez Hernandez was born with Down syndrome. He also suffered cardiac arrest at age 4-months, and the family is struggling.
After neighborhood outcry, the fractional home ownership company Pacaso said it would resell a home in North Napa to a 'whole buyer' and impl…
A former Army Chinook helicopter retrofitted to carry water has arrived at Napa County to help fight wildfires.
Napa County is being sued by a group that says county groundwater practices hurt the Napa River.
Diamond Mountain Stables, the third-generation ranch and prestigious training ground for horses, is relocating after enduring multiple wildfir…
Napa Valley-based producer Castello di Amorosa has illegally sent more than 621 wine shipments to consumers in the state of Michigan, a lawsui…
A new house for $187,000? Mighty Buildings of Oakland is making such homes using a giant 3D printer. And Napans are buying.
A home-based bagel maker is teaming up with the son of the Third Street property owner to create Winston’s Cafe and Bakery, with Paulie’s Bage…
School official say they have reported to police the allegation by a gay former student of a brutal assault at Napa High in the 1990s.
Amodel railroad group’s battle to stay at the Napa Valley Expo has reached the end of the line — and with it, more than half a century of buil…
You can reach Jesse Duarte at 967-6803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.