From San Leandro to Fremont, voters have approved tax and bond measures expected to preserve key services and pay for new school facilities.
Fremont voters on Tuesday passed the city's first parcel tax to support local schools, and Newark leaders celebrated passage of the city's first voter-approved tax.
Union City and San Leandro voters both supported sales-tax rate increases, while San Leandro and Tri-City voters approved facility bonds for the San Leandro Unified School District and the Ohlone Community College District.
"It was a great night for the city of Newark, that's for sure," said Mayor Dave Smith after 58 percent of voters backed a tax that will add 3.5 percent to most utility bills.
The tax, which is expected to raise about $2.5 million annually, won't solve Newark's budget woes, but it should be enough to reopen the city's senior center and potentially return a police officer to the city's high school, he said. Voters had rejected an identical tax measure by just 10 votes last November.
Fremont voters narrowly passed Measure K, a $53-per-parcel property tax that will provide the district with about $3.3 million a year for the next five years. With 66.6 percent needed for passage, the measure won 69 percent of the vote.
"This is the first time we asked voters to support our programs, and they came through with a resounding yes," school board President Lara York said.
Once the results are certified, the board will appoint a citizen advisory committee to oversee allocation of the tax money, which can be used to restore library hours and specialized elementary school instruction, among other programs.
For the second time in eight years, Tri-City area voters approved a facilities bond for Ohlone College. With 55 percent needed for passage, 63 percent of voters backed Measure G, a $349 million bond that primarily will pay for maintenance and new construction at the Fremont campus.
The measure will cost the average Fremont homeowner about $80 a year through 2066, given current housing valuations.
Ohlone's campaign was backed with more than $127,000 in contributions, mostly from construction firms, consultants and trade unions, as well as $25,000 from bond underwriter Piper Jaffray.
In San Leandro, 63 percent of voters approved Measure M, a $50.1 million bond that will pay for various improvements to the district's schools.
About $16.1 million will go to build a sports complex at the aging Burrell Field, where San Leandro High School's teams play. Another $6 million will pay for a new swimming pool at the high school.
The bond will raise annual property taxes by $25 per $100,000 of assessed value.
San Leandro voters also approved Measure Z, a quarter-percent sales tax, bringing the rate to 10 percent on most items purchased within the city. The tax measure, which won with 61 percent of the vote, is anticipated to add $4 million annually to city coffers until it expires in seven years.
Union City voters approved Measure AA, a half-percent sales tax increase from 9.75 percent to 10.25 percent, making it the highest rate in Alameda County.
Measure AA, which won with 60 percent of the vote, will raise about $3.5 million annually for four years.
Supporters said the tax increase was necessary to ease a projected $1.7 million city budget deficit during the next two years and to prevent cuts to public safety, libraries and parks.
The tax will go into effect sometime in March or April.
Newly elected City Council member Lorrin Ellis, who opposed the tax hike, said voters may have felt comfortable supporting it because of the four-year cutoff.
"Maybe people bought into that and felt comfortable passing a tax that was temporary rather than long-term," he said.
Staff writers Rob Dennis and Chris Metinko contributed to this story.