PE: Taxpayer group opposes bonds

 

“The Inland Empire Taxpayers Association, formed last week, has targeted two proposed bonds: Measure G, a $720 million bond for the Mt. San Jacinto Community College District, and Measure H, a $63 million Banning Unified School District bond.”

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Taxpayer group opposes bonds

JUNE BALLOT: Measure G and Measure H could cost property owners $80 per $100,000 of assessed value.

10:00 PM PDT on Wednesday, April 26, 2006

By ADAM C. HARTMANN
The Press-Enterprise

A committee opposing tax increases has vowed to defeat two Pass-area school bond measures.

The Inland Empire Taxpayers Association, formed last week, has targeted two proposed bonds: Measure G, a $720 million bond for the Mt. San Jacinto Community College District, and Measure H, a $63 million Banning Unified School District bond.

Both bond measures will appear on the June 6 ballot.

Banning and MSJC officials said the bonds are necessary for the area’s students and were carefully considered.

If passed, the bonds would cost property owners up to $80 per $100,000 of assessed value. That could mean an extra $200 annually for a home assessed at $250,000.

Founder Chris Mann said he started the association because he believes Pass residents pay more than their fair share of taxes.

The two school bonds, added to the $108 million San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital bond that passed March 28, would result in “hefty increases” in property-tax bills, Mann said.

The hospital bond will cost Pass-area property owners about $67 more annually on a $250,000 house.

With all three bonds, Mann said his annual property-tax bill would increase by $600.

“People in this area are really paying for the growth that’s happening here,” Mann said. “We’re not talking about chump change.”

Mann estimated the six-member group needs less than $500 to defeat the proposed bonds.

Pelton Teague, a Banning school board member, said residents’ increased costs would be offset by vital improvements such as new intermediate and middle schools.

New MSJC President Mark J. Zacovic said trustees considered the bond measure carefully.

If the bond fails, residents will be upset in the future because their children will be ready for college but MSJC won’t be able to accommodate them, Zacovic said.

The MSJC bond aims to pay for new campuses in Banning and along Interstate 15 near Wildomar, plus numerous new buildings.

Banning school officials eye new intermediate and middle schools, plus upgraded athletic fields, a new swimming pool and new classrooms at Banning High School.

Staff writer Jamie Ayala contributed to this report.

Reach Adam C. Hartmann at (951) 846-2302 or ahartmannatPEdotcom  (ahartmannatPEdotcom)