ESER 2014: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is ESER 2014?
The Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond is a $400 million bond proposed by the City and County of San Francisco, approved by voters in June 2014. Otherwise known as ESER 2014, the purpose of this bond is to pay for repairs that will allow San Francisco to quickly respond to a major earthquake or disaster.
2. Why is ESER 2014 necessary now?
San Francisco is surrounded by major fault lines, and according to the U.S. Geological Survey, there is a 63 percent chance of a 6.7 or greater magnitude earthquake in the next 25 years. It has been decades since our first response system has been updated, and many of our emergency facilities will fall inoperable following a major earthquake. ESER 2014 provides the funds necessary to improve our recovery abilities and equip our first responders with the infrastructure to safeguard our communities.
3. How will ESER 2014 affect property tax rates?
Property tax rates will not increase as a result of ESER 2014. Through careful planning, the City only issues new bonds once previous bonds have been paid down. ESER 2014 will allow for these public safety upgrades in a way that does not raise the tax rate.
4. Didn’t I already vote for an ESER bond?
Yes, this bond is part of a multi-year program to repair and upgrade the City’s deteriorating emergency response system. ESER 2010, approved by 79 percent of San Francisco voters in 2010, began our efforts to seismically reinforce the City’s fire houses, emergency firefighting water system, and construct a new Public Safety Building (police headquarters). ESER 2014 continues the work overwhelmingly approved by San Franciscans in 2010.
5. What did the money from ESER 2010 accomplish?
Over half of the 42 fire stations in San Francisco are in the process of renovation. The Southern Police Station has been replaced, leaving behind nine more stations which need repair. Approximately 30 underground water storage tanks are being repaired or constructed and work is underway for pipelines, tunnels and control systems upgrades, which will provide vital resources for our firefighters across the city. The newly constructed, state-of-the-art Public Safety Building is set to open this fall, built with funding from ESER 2010.
6. Can this be paid for using the General Fund?
At $400 million, the cost of necessary upgrades is beyond what the City’s General Fund can support. Our facilities are old—in some cases a century old—and cannot be fixed all at once. ESER 2014 is part of a multi-year plan to fix our deteriorating first response system and ensure functioning recovery services without bankrupting the City or raising taxes.
7. What is the City’s 10-Year Capital Plan?
The 2016-2025 Capital Plan includes figures on the costs of maintaining our streets and right-of-way infrastructure, making seismic repairs to critical facilities, and improving parks and cultural facilities without going beyond our means. The Plan provides a financing strategy for the City and its partner agencies to deliver $32 billion in infrastructure investments without raising property tax rates or overburdening the General Fund.
For more information on the City’s 10-Year Capital Plan, please visit http://onesanfrancisco.org/ten-year-capital-plan/.