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Anonymous anti-Measure SC campaign reaches Claremont voters

With just days left to capture those last votes, Measure SC campaigning heated up over the weekend.

Some Claremont residents received anonymous text messages over the weekend cautioning voters to vote no on Measure SC, the June 5 ballot measure that seeks to allow the city to obtain up to $24 million in bonds to fund construction of a new police station.

The text—which included the first name of the registered owner of the phone and was sent from the phone number (909) 323-1199—said “Measure SC is terrible for Claremont homeowners. We each pay $5,686.87 for a building we DON’T NEED. Vote NO on SC!”

The text warning is assuming an annual payment of $227.47 for the life of the bond. This figure is based on a home’s assessed value of $750,000.

Multiple calls to the phone number resulted in busy signals.

Some homeowners received a flyer on their door also urging a “no” vote and stating, “If you bought your home recently you will pay 15 TIMES MORE than your neighbor.”

The flyer indirectly addresses Proposition 13, which offers limits on property tax increases of up to 2 percent per year for all California homeowners. Those who benefit most are long-term homeowners whose assessed property values often reflect home values from the late 1970s and 1980s.

Prop 13 often creates large discrepancies, with next-door neighbors sometimes having assessed home values that differ by hundreds of thousands of dollars, thereby causing dramatic differences in property tax payments for owners of identical homes.

The Yes on SC Committee Partners for a Safe Claremont took to social media to refute the claims.

“With the GO bond, not all parcels will pay the same amount,” the committee shared. “Commercial parcels have a much higher taxable value and will pay much more. Even if everyone did pay the same, the average would be $1,550,000 divided by 9,240 parcels = $168/year for 25 years. The text says the average would be 35 percent higher. Everything in this text is not true.”

The text message, however, is based on the bond measure as it is currently written. Measure SC projects the city will charge homeowners $30.03 per $100,000 of assessed property value, with a payback schedule of approximately $1.5 million per year for 25 years.

The city projects that, for most people, individual payments toward SC will reduce over time, assuming that Claremont’s long-term homeowners with lower assessed values sell their homes to purchasers who will take on a larger property tax payment based on the increased assessed value.

In literature provided to the LA County Registrar, the city of Claremont estimates that, “the year after it issues the first bonds, the estimated debt service would require a tax rate of $26.41 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.”

A home with an assessed value of $500,000 would be $132.05 the first year after bonds are issued, the city said.

Further, Claremont officials expect the rate to continue to decrease each year and estimate the tax rate to be $24.47 per $100,000 of assessed value for the bulk of the 25-year repayment schedule.

Under a GO bond, commercial property owners are taxed at the same rate as homeowners. Only schools, churches and nonprofits are exempt from paying toward the bond on a property tax bill.

On May 3, the city announced that the Claremont Colleges promised $750,000 toward the new police facility. The money will not be used to reduce the amount the city will borrow, but is a one-time contribution to go toward technology should the bond pass.

It will be up to the voters to decide Tuesday on Measure SC. The city will provide 11 polling locations to its 21,219 registered voters, of whom 10,058 are on permanent vote-by-mail status. The measure needs a two-thirds majority vote to pass.

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder will post the vote-by-mail results at 8 p.m. Tuesday night, with updates from precincts approximately each hour.

To find your polling place, also visit https://www.lavote.net/locator/ and enter your address in the search bar.

The COURIER will post Measure SC results Tuesday night on our website and Facebook page as they are made available by the county. A more complete story will appear online Wednesday and in print next Friday.

—Kathryn Dunn

editor@claremont-courier.com