East County Times
editorial: Bethel Island
voters should vote yes on
Measure X

MediaNews editorial

Posted: 09/24/2010 12:01:00 AM PDT

MUCH OF BETHEL Island lies below sea level and
relies on levees for its existence as a residential-
agricultural area. Those levees and drainage need to
undergo regular maintenance and improvements if
they are to guarantee protection for island property

Keeping the levees up to grade and making
necessary improvements to them, drainage and
pumps is a considerable expense, most of which
must be borne by those who directly benefit. That is
why the Bethel Island Municipal Improvement
District has placed a parcel tax, Measure X, on the
November ballot.

It asks property owners to approve a special tax of
$252.29, applicable to all taxable parcels
(excluding legal parcels that are entirely
underwater) within Bethel Island for each of 10 fiscal
years, beginning July 1, 2011, to maintain and
improve levees and drainage.

The project includes the placement of riprap along
the shoreline to prevent erosion and to help
stabilize the banks. An all-weather surface for levee
crowns made of aggregate base rock would be
placed to provide a stable and lasting road base.
Also, levees would be raised to two feet above a
100-year flood level.
Measure X would provide funds for ditch
maintenance, debris removal, culvert replacement
and vegetation control. Additionally, the measure
would fund elevating and resizing two pumping

The total cost of the levee and drainage work is
estimated at $6,618,102.

Fortunately, the state Department of Water Resources
will pay half of the cost of some of the work, totaling
$2,431,551. Another $150,000 would come from
Contra Costa County Public Works.

Owners of the 1,600 Bethel Island parcels will be
responsible for $4,036,551 of the cost of the p
roject, or $403,655 per year for each of 10 years.
That is how the $252.29 per parcel cost was

There is no way to avoid these levee and drainage
improvements without jeopardizing the safety of
Bethel Island properties. The cost of just over $21 a
month is a reasonable and affordable expense for a
necessary project.

We urge all Bethel Island property owners to vote
yes on Measure X, which requires a two-thirds vote
for passage.