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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?

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