MARTINEZ -- County voters narrowly passed a measure to double the amount property owners pay the Contra Costa Community College District to improve aging facilities. Measure E, a $450 million bond measure, won with 56.7 percent of the vote, just slightly more than the 55 percent of it needed to pass. The bond raises the college district's annual assessment on property owners from $13 per $100,000 in assessed value to $26.
Bond proceeds would increase accessibility for those with disabilities, as well as improve campus grounds, classrooms and lab technology. Supporters said Measure E would help maintain quality career training programs and education for the college district's over 55,000 students, while helping the county remain economically viable.
Opponents countered that residents are weary of taxes, still struggling financially, and the measure would rack up millions in new debt.
Projects on the table include seismic retrofitting of existing Contra Costa College buildings and a new Science and Allied Health building; renovating Diablo Valley College's Engineering Technology, Music and Performing Arts buildings; and new Student Activities and Performing Arts buildings at Los Medanos College.
Funding also would go toward a new campus in Brentwood and expansion of the San Ramon campus.
This marks the district's fifth attempt at a bond. In 1996, a $145 million bond measure failed, along with a $236 million bond in 2000. At the time, both required a two-thirds majority vote.
Voters approved bonds in 2002 and 2006. The proceeds are being used for projects currently being built on the three campuses.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.