By Daniel Borsuk
At a specially called Tuesday meeting, on May 28, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors took the unusual action of withdrawing a special tax, measure approved a week earlier, that would have permitted residents of the Blackhawk Homeowners Association to vote on whether to increase a parcel tax to keep police services intact.
The special election scrubbed by supervisors on a 3-0 vote, was originally to be held August 27 and would have generated sufficient parcel tax revenue from Blackhawk homeowners to maintain police services that are provided by the Contra Costa County Sheriff at current levels, three deputies and one lieutenant.
At the request of District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, whose district includes the residential area consisting of 2,027 exclusive homes near Danville, the supervisor said after the May 21 action she had met with representatives of the Blackhawk Country Club, which opposes being included in any type of parcel tax proposal for police services. Burgis said she will present at an upcoming meeting a Blackhawk police services parcel tax proposal that would be “fair and agreeable.”
“We’ve had challenges concerning the funding for the police district,” Burgis admitted.
In the May 21 action, the special taxes levied in the zone for police protection would have been increased in fiscal year 2020-2021 to $380 per parcel for residential properties, including single, small multiple and large multiple, $3,040 per parcel for commercial/industrial/institutional properties and $13,300 per parcel for commercial/theater properties. The ordinance also would have taxed parcels owned by the Blackhawk County Club, which are currently exempt from the Zone A police protection special tax.
While admitting the association has been losing revenues to support the police services at current levels, Blackhawk Homeowners Association President Ron Banducci, who is also chairman of the Blackhawk Police Advisory Committee, had informed supervisors at the May 21 meeting that without the infusion of increased revenues from homeowners residents would lose one deputy from its police department.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Banducci warned supervisors to leave intact their May 21 decision to allow a vote on the August 27 parcel tax measure that would also, for the first time, include the Blackhawk Country Club to be assessed parcel taxes.
He cautioned supervisors Federal Glover of Pittsburg and Board Chair John Gioia of Richmond about any “backroom deal by Supervisor Burgis and the Blackhawk Country Club for $40,000 for 10 years” to allegedly be excluded from a police district tax district.
Blackhawk Homeowners Association member, Rick Marse, said the fact that Burgis and the country club have been meeting makes any kind of deal “completely irregular.”
Another Blackhawk resident Henry Schutzel thought that the meeting was invalid because it violates the public open meeting law. “I believe this meeting is a violation of the Brown Act,” he claimed.
Even then, without much comment from Supervisors Glover or Gioia on the issue at hand, Burgis’s request was unanimously approved.