Orinda Downplays Wildfire Prevention
The Orinda City Council approved its fiscal year 2024 budget, including spending the Measure R Sales Tax revenue.
Measure R is a supplemental sales tax, supplementing other revenue, for essential services. It was advertised as a wildfire prevention tax, with roads and storm drains, other essential services, listed in the “fine print”. However, the City’s plan is to spend only 18% ($6.3 million out of $35.5 million) of essential service funds on wildfire prevention.
The six-year budget (2023 - 2028) shows $6.3 million to be spent for wildfire prevention and $11.9 million spent on other essential services (roads and storm drains). However, elsewhere in the budget there is an additional $17.3 million spent on roads and storm drains. A total of $35.5 million to be spent on essential services through 2028.
Is the City treating the Measure R sales tax as mainly an infrastructure tax with just a nod toward wildfire prevention? Is this a “bait and switch” preying on the resident’s fears of a destructive wildfire?