Voters Approve Property Tax Hike

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Alhambra voters Tuesday approved a property tax hike to raise $75 million for a new police station.

It was the first time that voters had passed a bond measure since 1955, when money was raised to build the city's current police station. A similar proposal failed in 1988.

"This is a prime example of a grass-roots effort getting voters to pass a tax initiative in difficult economic times," said Mark Paulson, co-chairman of Alhambra Citizens Against Crime, which supported the measure. "We were able to educate enough people to the needs of this facility and convince them it's the best time to do it. It'll only get worse in the future."

Measure A will raise $75 million through fees added to property tax bills over a 30-year period. It passed by a 59.1% vote; a majority was needed to pass. Nineteen percent of the city's 26,173 registered voters participated in the special election.

Starting next year, the city will collect $49 from homeowners, $37 per unit from apartment owners, and between $900 and $2,400 per acre for developed commercial property. The rates will increase each year by a maximum of 5%. At the end of 10 years, city officials estimate homeowners will pay $79.82. Thereafter, the amount probably will be frozen for the remaining 20 years, City Manager Kevin J. Murphy said.

The money will be used to retire bonds issued to finance construction of a 56,000-square-foot police station near 2nd Street and Commonwealth Avenue, next to City Hall. The building will cost $27 million, but interest payments will bring the city's debt to $75 million.

Alhambra has purchased most of the project's three-acre site, including a now-defunct women's club, a Victorian home and a 14-unit apartment building. It must still acquire the Alhambra Masonic Temple on 1st Street.

ELECTION RESULTS / ALHAMBRA

Measure A

Authorize creation of a benefit assessment district that would raise property taxes to pay for a new police station.

20 of 20 Precincts Reporting, Plus Absentees

MEASURE VOTE % Yes 2,929 59 No 2,033 41

Simple majority needed for passage

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