Write Bd of Sups about our roads! We ALL NEED TO DO THIS!

There are ZERO DOLLARS in the budget to repair any roads in SC County! Read this and write your letters now!

5/2024 Manu Koenig letter re infrastructure transcribed by J. Kimball

The County Board of Supervisors just finished reviewing the proposed budget yesterday and there are
some alarming changes that impact roads. These include:

  1. 88 storm damage sites from the last two years with no funding source identified for their
    repair - ever.
  2. Halting regular road resurfacing projects for the foreseeable future and using that money (from
    the Measure D 1/2 sales tax) to pay for debt service on last year’s storm repairs instead.
  3. Reducing county contingency funds to 17% of previous levels (from $7.5 million to $1.25
    million) meaning that very little funding is available for emergency repairs if a road washes
    out and residents are trapped.
  4. Reducing mowing and vegetation management along county roads. Staff proposed this budget
    with the idea that it preserves county jobs and social services like mental health and legal
    defense for indigent people convicted of crimes. But it fails to prioritize the essential
    infrastructure that working citizens use everyday: roads. And here’s the real salt in the wound,
    not a single cent of our property taxes are being allocated to road repairs.
    As your recently re-elected 1st District Supervisor, I heard loud and clear during the March primary
    election that roads are the most important issue to many voters and in particular to mountain
    residents. That’s why I tried to inject some common sense into the discussion yesterday and proposed
    shifting $10 million of County General Fund money to roads. (Ultimately, this is not enough money
    given the years of deferred maintenance, but it’s a start in a challenging budget year). Supervisors
    McPherson and Hernandez started to support my motion and then went with the status quo.
    Supervisor Friend was absent. The result is that this budget, with its minimal support for county roads,
    is moving towards final approval at the June 4th Board of Supervisors Meeting. I can only change it
    with the votes of two more supervisors.

This is an important time to stand up for how your property tax dollars are spent. Allocating $0
towards roads of the $82.3 million in property taxes that the County collects every year is
unsustainable and it’s wrong. After-all, if people don’t have a road, they can’t get to work, to earn
money to pay their property taxes. Moreover, as a taxpayer, you have the right to expect that a portion
of your property taxes will maintain essential road infrastructure.

Email Supervisors Friend, Cummings, Hernandez and McPherson and tell them what you think of the
proposed budget:


Encourage your friends and neighbors to do this as well, particularly those that live in the San Lorenzo
Valley, Bonny Doon, Aptos and Watsonville.

You can also attend the June 4th meeting in person at 701 Ocean St or on Zoom (link will be available
here: Meeting Portal - Santa Cruz County, CA
and speak at general public comment (9:00am) or during the budget hearing itself (1:30pm). If you
can’t make the meeting send a written comment to the email above and I’ll endeavor to read it out, or
at least summarize during the meeting.

Even if the current supervisors don’t change their mind and join me in calling for a change to this
year’s budget, it’s essential to make a stand so that the candidates running for Districts 2 and 5 in
November pledge to prioritize county roads over other services.

Because with all the talk about equity down here at 701 Ocean St, the reality is that infrastructure is
equity. We seem to have realized that when it comes to internet access, but forgotten it when it comes
to our most basic infrastructure: roads.

Manu Koenig Supervisor, First District
County of Santa Cruz
701 Ocean St, Room 500
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 454-2200

Supervisor Friend

Supervisor Cummings

Supervisor Hernandez

Supervisor McPherson

Upcoming meetings June, 24