San Rafael is a wonderful place to live, work, raise a family and retire. Local residents value safe neighborhoods, good schools and the strong sense of community.
Aging Streets, Storm Drains, Libraries and Infrastructure
Incorporated in 1874, San Rafael is one of California’s oldest cities. With streets, sidewalks, bridges, storm drains, parks, playgrounds, libraries and other public buildings constructed as San Rafael grew throughout the 20th Century, aging city infrastructure needs repair and improvements. For example, San Rafael has 331 miles of streets that require ongoing pothole repair and repaving. Failing storm drains cause street flooding, which impedes rapid emergency response, evacuation routes and damages public and private property. Older public buildings like the downtown San Rafael Carnegie Library, which was built in 1909, do not meet current seismic safety standards and accessibility standards for youth, older adults and people with disabilities. Aging libraries lack space for summer reading classes and other programs for children, families and older adults.
Locally-Controlled Funding for Local Needs
The City of San Rafael is currently considering options for funding improvements to aging streets, storm drains, libraries and other public infrastructure. One option is placing a measure on the November 2022 ballot to increase the existing property transfer tax by 1% – which is only paid when a property is bought or sold in San Rafael. This measure would require approval from a majority of San Rafael residents and is estimated to provide $8 million annually in locally controlled funding to support city services and infrastructure, such as:
- Repairing potholes and city streets, sidewalks and traffic signals
- Upgrading storm drains to reduce street flooding and storm drain failures
- Preserving rapid 9-1-1 emergency response and evacuation routes
- Keeping city parks, playgrounds and downtown safe and clean, including addressing the impacts of homelessness
- Repairing, renovating and updating the downtown San Rafael Carnegie Library and neighborhood branch libraries for safety, accessibility and to support programming
A proposed measure to maintain and upgrade general city infrastructure in San Rafael would include fiscal accountability protections, including:
- All funds must stay in San Rafael for local uses
- No funds may be taken by the State
- Annual independent audits and public disclosure of spending is required
- Help San Rafael qualify for state and federal funding for infrastructure and homeless services that will otherwise go to other communities
- This is not an annual tax on property owners - this tax is only paid when a property is bought or sold in San Rafael
We Value Your Input
The City of San Rafael welcomes your feedback and questions as we make plans to maintain and improve aging streets, storm drains, buildings and infrastructure. For more information or to share feedback on local priorities, please contact the City Manager’s office at (415) 485-3070 or cityservices@CityofSanRafael.org.