Let's talk about the Jacobs Junior High property.
The Jacobs property is up for sale. Why? Back in the day, Eureka City Schools had 8,000 students. Now enrollment is less than half of that at 3,600 students. Loss of a lot of families.
The city of Eureka puts forth a price limit of $2.8 million. The City looks at the cost of the land. Have not seen much conversation about the long-term benefits of increased housing and revitalizing a neighborhood.
The citizens of Eureka just stepped up big time for the good folks at City Hall and approved Measure H, our new 1.25-percent sales tax ("Maze of Measures," Oct. 8, 2020). Measure H was projected to bring in $9.6 million per year: the existing 0.5-percent tax bringing in $3.8 million with the 0.75-percent increase bringing in $5.8 million.
With so much need for housing, and with such a huge tax and revenue increase, why isn't Eureka City Hall rising to the occasion on this opportunity for the residents of Eureka? Where is the money from this huge tax increase going?
As Eureka City Hall places a $2.8 million limit for the Jacobs property, it is adding balloon payments to its pension debt payments and will be spending ten times that amount, $28 million, over just the next four years, on pension debt. Yearly pension debt payments will then increase to $8.4 million in 2029 with payments continuing until 2040.
With the loss of so many students and with the desperate need for housing, Eureka City Hall and Eureka City Schools need to work together and step up for citizens and students. The Jacobs Junior High property, put toward housing and other direct benefits for the citizens, will be of great value to all.
Patrick Cloney, Eureka