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Contra Costa voters who read Evaluate G, a $1 annual car registration price on the June 7 ballot, could be asking themselves what is the County Deserted Motor vehicle Abatement Support Authority?

Really don’t feel negative. We experienced the very same query. We experienced under no circumstances read of the authority, which placed the evaluate on the ballot to keep on funding for “removing and disposing of abandoned and wrecked cars.”

But the additional we realized, the additional it turned apparent that voters need to junk the tax extension and disband the authority by rejecting Measure G.


It turns out that the authority, fashioned in 1991, is a typically unaccountable group of area federal government managers with a self-fascination in bolstering funding for their businesses. And the software they operate, opposite to the ballot wording, usually doesn’t pay for elimination and disposal of deserted motor vehicles. Instead, the revenue it collects commonly offsets the price of county and city code-enforcement officers who investigate and approach the abatement scenarios.

The value of taking away and disposing of the vehicles is commonly borne by tow businesses, which accept the deserted automobiles as payment simply because they get value from the components or recycling the materials.

Beyond that ballot deception are severe fundamental issues in the method. Following peaking in the 2016-17 fiscal calendar year, the amount of vehicle abatements dropped sharply in the virtually two yrs before the pandemic.

In the meantime some towns have been accumulating money from the program for many years whilst hardly abating any motor vehicles. As a end result, on a for each-abatement basis, the total they acquire from the software is exorbitant.

We analyzed facts provided by the authority for five many years, ending with the 2020-21 fiscal calendar year. It confirmed that El Cerrito collected about $144 and Concord gathered $195 for just about every vehicle they abated when, at the other severe, Orinda gathered $8,750 and Walnut Creek gathered $79,995 per car.

And the notion that regulation-abiding car owners must foot the invoice for individuals who abandon their cars is perplexing. If entrepreneurs of abandoned automobiles can not be compelled to fork out, then the price should be paid by all taxpayers, not just motor vehicle proprietors.

But the most ironic portion of this method is that the authority will spend about $500,000 just to keep the countywide election on Measure G — this for a 10-calendar year extension on a application that delivers in only $1.1 million per year.

If city and county officers want to assistance jurisdictions that legitimately have a great deal of abatements, they ought to devise a alternative application utilizing existing money that compensates reasonably for clearing roads of deserted autos.

Initial time on ballot

For three a long time, Contra Costa’s automobile-abatement plan has operated underneath the public radar. Commencing in the early 1990s, Contra Costa and about 30 other California jurisdictions, typically counties, took gain of state laws letting the development of car or truck-abatement authorities.

Below the principles adopted by Contra Costa and the county’s now 19 towns, their application is administered by a seven-member governing board, comprised of a county staffer and six city workers reps. There are no elected officers on the board and, therefore, it lacks direct community accountability.

To fork out for the abatement system, the DMV tacks $1 on to annual registration costs for most automobiles in the county and $2 for some professional motor vehicles. Immediately after the condition and county just take about $60,000 for administration, the software is remaining with about $1.1 million to distribute every single calendar year. 50 percent goes to the metropolitan areas, and the county for unincorporated areas, dependent on population, and 50 % based on the range of abandoned automobiles every single jurisdiction clears off the streets.

The condition needs renewal of the application by the county and towns each 10 decades. Formerly, that’s been done without having voter participation. Having said that, since the 2012 approval, county lawyers recommended that renewals need voter approval since of a 2010 ballot measure that expands the forms of costs that ought to go on the ballot. Which is why this time voters are getting consulted.

Troubling info

So how has this plan fared? County info for the past nine a long time demonstrates it was going gangbusters, abating 7,273 automobiles at its peak in the 2016-17 fiscal year. But by 2018-19, that number had plummeted by far more than 50 percent, to 3,330. The pursuing calendar year, which integrated 4 months of the pandemic unexpected emergency, the abatements had dropped a great deal further, to 1,228.

In addition, county information for the past five yrs exhibits that some towns have been amassing their share of the population-based mostly funding even though they have abated just about no automobiles. The county data for the software indicates, for instance, that Walnut Creek abated only two automobiles for the duration of that time and Orinda only five. That is why the sum gathered for each abated motor vehicle is so significant for some towns.

This system is damaged. And the men and women running it are much too taken out from the voters to be determined to resolve it. Some of the 31 jurisdictions across the condition with equivalent packages have opted to terminate them. Contra Costa need to do the exact same.

Voters really should reject Measure G.


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By Kelli