Burlingame’s flood control measure washing out

BURLINGAME — Flood control is still a top priority, officials promised, a day after the city’s first bond proposal in decades failed at the polls by more than two percentage points.

“I’m bummed,” Mayor Cathy Baylock said. “The truth is that a two-thirds bond measure is difficult to pass, I knew that going in.”

Measure H, a $44 million bond measure meant to primarily fund citywide storm water system improvements, came away with 63.9 percent of the vote Tuesday night.

The city’s top brass reacted with a mixture of disappointment at the results and optimism that any outstanding ballots would push that figure over the edge. All, however, were confident that improvements would be funded one way or another.

The city will likely keep putting most of its $1 million to $2 million capital budget toward maintaining the system, Public Works Director George Bagdon said.

Officials will probably look again to the voters to fund these improvements, but Bagdon said that did not exclusively mean another bond measure.

The bond would have allocated $37 million for the storm drain system, with another $7 million set aside for seismic upgrades to city buildings.

An April survey concluded those were the projects that would gain the most voter support.

A homeowners coalition called Against Measure H was the only organized opposition to the measure. The group said the bond unfairly hit newer homeowners with disproportionately higher property taxes.

“The voters’ decision is an affirmation of the concerns we expressed about this particular bond proposal,” the group said in a statement.

“It really demonstrated the old adage that says any type of organized opposition will prevent you from getting the two-thirds majority,” City Manager Jim Nantell said.

Councilwoman Rosalie O’Mahony remained optimistic that the measure still might scrape by.

“Don’t say it’s over ‘til it’s over,” O’Mahony said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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