Opinion -- A Perfect Storm

by Placerville Newswire / Jun 05, 2016 / comments

[by Kevin Nagle]  In El Dorado County, one of the most vicious campaigns I have seen in my 22 plus years living here has dwarfed into a divisive battleground over land use. The Yes on E and G proponents fear based marketing strategy?  A chorus of anti-developer vigilante’s social media campaign that fails to address the major issues with a stunning lack of substance or evidence.  The Yes on Measures E and G have been led by a group called Save Our County (SOC) that wants to essentially end all growth in El Dorado County. Those supporters would tell you otherwise that they want to return to a dated General Plan (2004) to bring balance back to the County among other highly restrictive anti-growth initiatives, but these Measures having been reviewed by several legal experts in and out of the County and conclude that not only are they unconstitutional by law as they fall outside state law General Plan requirements.  Ironically, the Measures had been reviewed by CEDAC, a local committee of citizens who asked SOC to rewrite the language, but they refused. So if Measures E and G prevail, they will be headed to the courts to litigate and cost the County of El Dorado taxpayers and others hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. Frankly, had the County of El Dorado election reviewing authorities been more astute, when these Measures first appeared for ballot inclusion, they should have recognized they violated state law and sent them back to the authors instructing as such.
 
But here we are mired in a fight for the future of El Dorado County.  Little has been actually discussed about the financial implications should Measures E and G pass and therein lies the core of the issue. The County is already financially troubled. El Dorado County has a major financial dependency upon real estate property taxes as budget revenue largely produced by the western slope of the County in the El Dorado Hills area.  With budget cuts and spending down its reserve to fund programs while balancing obligations through its proposed 2016-17 budget, the County has tens of millions in unfunded liabilities for future health care benefits for retirees.  Include the multimillion dollar law enforcement cuts in the proposed budget as well. Need we go further? Read on.
 
Imagine both Measures E and G pass, you can expect massive County services to be cut.  Property taxes, which are a lifeline to education will be drastically impacted from the lack of increases in tax revenue as we will cease in new growth in development that generates tax revenue, but eventually a down turn as supply dries up and eventually demand will drop as other areas of the region such as Placer County continue to increase quality of life and become more attractive.  In addition, sales tax revenue will flatten out at best.  Such tax revenue already ranks the 7th lowest in the state among counties and the greatest percentage comes from gasoline.  We have not even begun to address what will happen to one of the County’s shining stars-the CSD.  Their revenue comprises nearly 47% from property taxes and should E and G pass, other outstanding programs for children and families including seniors would fade away in time.
 
We’re teetering on the edge and while we don’t see an economic downtown on the horizon, it will happen in the future.  If both Measures E and G pass and such a recession arises, we have the perfect storm.  This concerns me greatly.  We all want controlled and appropriate growth for a beautiful and rural County with so much to offer those who live here and others who visit.  Let’s be smart and vote NO on E and G and sit down at the table and figure out a win win for both sides.
 
For support on the above comments, visit www.edc.gov; www.lao.ca.gov; www.eldoradllhills.org; hdlcompanies.com
 
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Kevin Nagle is a founder and former CEO of Envision Pharmaceutical Holdings; the largest local owner of the Sacramento Kings; the lead investor of the Sacramento Republic FC; Co-owner of the El Dorado Hills Town Center; the Founder, Chairman of Jaguar Ventures and of The Nagle Companies.  He sits on the Board of UC Davis Health Systems; St. Hope Public Schools; Moneta Ventures; and a Trustee at St. Mary’s College of California.  He has contributed millions of dollars to philanthropy.