Our View: Local leaders must pursue prop money

November 09, 2006 11:00 pm

Local officials ought to have a better sense of how our community might benefit from the recently approved state propositions.

As The Daily Triplicate spent Wednesday talking with county, city and school officials about how we might be able to tap into money from Propositions 1A-1E, too few of them had any good, definitive answer.

Granted, much about the propositions is up in the air. Four of them allow the Legislature to borrow billions for roads, schools, affordable housing, levees and flood control, and no one knows exactly how much of the voter authorized amounts lawmakers will borrow. In addition, communities will have to compete through a grant process for the dollars.

But we can expect lawmakers will borrow all they can. And local officials should have some idea of which grants they'll seek to get some of those dollars.

After all, local taxpayers will be have to pay off those bonds and the principle. Local officials ought to make sure some of that money comes back here lest all our tax dollars end up in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.

And make no mistake about it: Municipalities, counties and school boards from Redding to San Diego already are drooling over those proposition dollars. This autumn a plethora of editorials and newspaper articles, in which government officials from across California have described exactly what grants they qualify for and how they'd like to use the money to improve their communities, have appeared.

Locally, we qualify for a number of programs that the propositions fund. Transportation projects that already are planned or are ready for construction qualify for Proposition 1B's dollars. Proposition 1D offers funds to build nearly 10,000 new classrooms and renovate 31,000 more at schools and colleges. Proposition 1C gives funds to build emergency shelters for battered women and affordable housing for seniors, low-income families and the disabled. Proposition 1E provides money for local governments to better regulate stormwater runoff.

During the past year, The Daily Triplicate has written about each of these needs in our county. We hope local officials now address those issues by pursuing proposition dollars.