County votes to take positions on state propositions
EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to approve resolutions to support Propositions 68 and 69, which will appear on the June 5 ballot. The board also approved a resolution opposing the proposed repeal of the gas tax, which is expected to appear on the November ballot.
Proposition 68 is the $4.1 billion park bond designed to address numerous needs related to parks, open spaces, water and climate change-related issues facing California.
The reason the proposition matters locally is because this bond includes $190 million for the Salton Sea management program and $10 million for the New River.
Should the bond pass along with the proposed water bond in November, they would combine for a total of $400 million for the Salton Sea. That will fund habitat and dust suppression projects to cover nearly 30,000 of exposed playa over the next decade.
The park bond also include different programs that local cities and the county could potentially tap into in order to upgrade their outdoor recreation infrastructure, including $18 million that will be available for fairground improvements and $30 million for county and regional park improvements to be disbursed across the state.
Also as part of the consent agenda the board unanimously voted to endorse the water bond for the November ballot.
The board also supports Proposition 69, which will create a constitutional amendment which will forbid the state Legislature from using gas tax funds for any other purpose that is not transportation related. In addition, the board voted to oppose any potential ballot measure to repeal the gas tax, as the new funding mechanism is allowing the Department of Public Works to take on a larger number road and bridge repair projects as a result of the additional funding.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Supervisors also heard a presentation from Public Administrator and Area Agency on Aging Director Rosie Blankenship regarding the agency’s funding from the state for the next fiscal year.
The agency will receive $7,500 more overall than in the previous year from the California Department of Aging, Blankenship reported. However, while some programs gained money, others have lost. For instance, the home-delivered meals program gained $36,000 in funding, but the senior nutrition congregate meals program lost $38,000.
Blankenship described the latter situation as “disheartening.”
Under the program, the agency provides seniors with meals in a centralized location, but the cuts will eliminate a month’s worth of meals. Blankenship told the board her staff was in the process of applying to the county’s Community Benefit Program to seek additional funding to cover that need.