The San Benito County Business Council met recently at the Happy Rooster in San Juan Bautista, with the word of the day seeming to be “bond" — not in the James Bond sense, but in the bonds that raise money for schools, transportation projects and community services.
New Business Council President Bob Tiffany of Tiffany Motors introduced San Juan Bautista City Manager Roger Grimsley to a full room.
Grimsley welcomed the Business Council attendees, with a tongue-in-cheek introduction to the “historic town” and pointed out some of the downtown highlights not to be missed. The point being that Hollister, as the center of its own universe, has a tendency to forget that beautiful San Juan exists. In fact, it is likely more appreciated beyond county lines and recent interest in local businesses show it, he noted.
Grimsley mentioned several of the housing developments that are in the works and noted that as city manager, he viewed housing and growth as part of the solution for financial problems with which the small town has been struggling.
Beyond the brief report on San Juan Bautista, the topic of the day became bonds. Over sandwiches and salad, guests heard about five separate bonds that public officials have planned for voters.
Sales tax initiatives for the 2016 June and November ballots
A number of bond measures are proposed for this year's ballots in San Benito County, though they have not been finalized. Among them:
- The San Benito County Board of Supervisors has discussed a 1 percent sales tax for the unincorporated portion of the county.
- In an effort to address needed highway repairs, the Council of San Benito County Governments is proposing a transportation-related bond.
- The City of Hollister is contemplating a second extension to the existing 1 percent sales tax.
- Hollister School District Superintendent Gary McIntire also mentioned plans for a middle school bond, to follow up 2014's $28.5 million Measure M, which voters approved. Because of the quantity of bonds being proposed, he is not yet sure for which election it will be slotted.
- With all the housing coming to San Benito County, there is concern that San Benito High School, which has nearly 3,000 students, may not be able to handle the increased population, so a bond for a second high school has long been discussed. Voters in 2014 approved Measure G, a $42.5 million bond for facilities upgrades to the existing campus.