The City Council has set into motion a road improvement program that would repair substandard streets but would cost homeowners as much as $90 a year in added property taxes.
Of the city's 120 miles of streets, half are substandard, Councilman Steve Apodaca said. The plan approved by the council Wednesday would spend $4.3 million a year for roadwork, starting with the streets that are in the worst shape. Of that amount, residents would chip in $1.5 million--between $18 and $90 a year per household.
Several people spoke against the plan, saying that the city should pay for improvements from its general fund.
"The city had the money in the past to upgrade these streets, but they didn't use it," said Karoline Koester, a former mayor of San Clemente. "We feel we're having this crammed down our throats."
But council members said that recent budget cuts have already depleted the fund.
The council's plan would levy the tax at a higher rate for houses on public streets and less for those on private roads, who typically pay homeowner association fees. Single-family homeowners living on private streets would pay about $22 a year, while those on public streets would pay $90.