San Diego County continues to fall under the key threshold to stay “in the red”
Wednesday, November 4, 2020
by: Craig Benedetto, Legislative Advocate

Section: Government Affairs

Throughout the month of October, the County of San Diego has been on the bubble of falling back into the state’s most restrictive COVID tier (the color purple).  Fortunately, due to plenty of testing, the adjusted numbers have continued to keep the County in the next tier up, being red. 
The latest assessment (October 27th at the time this was written), as adjusted by the state Department of Public Health, went down to 6.5 cases per every 100,000 residents from the previous weeks of 7.0.  If the metric exceeds 7.0 for two consecutive weeks, then the County would be placed in the next most restrictive tier. 
The state’s assessment of counties occurs every Tuesday. As stated previously, and according to County officials, the reason the numbers have been adjusted (on October 27th) downward from an unadjusted 7.4 to an adjusted 6.5 and under the threshold is the abundance of testing.  The region continues to exceed the state median for number of tests, which allows for this adjustment downward. 
The County has continued to express concern, however, that the COVID positive numbers are still persistently high, and with the holidays, like Halloween, and colder weather driving people indoors, that it’s not time to let down our collective guards, which could lead to the County of San Diego being placed in the Purple tier, just as happened with Riverside County a couple of weeks ago.  For more information on the latest County news release, please click HERE.
San Diego County’s “Health Equity” metric continues to improve
In addition to the weekly reporting on the COVID testing and positivity metric, the County and State also report on the new “health equity” metric.  For the third straight week (as of October 27th), the County of San Diego reported this week that its updated “health equity” score went down.  For the latest numbers, it went down to 5.1% from 5.5% the previous week.  This shows a continued decline from the first score of 6.2% a few weeks ago when the new metric was first introduced by Governor Gavin Newsom. 
In addition to the color-coded metrics the county must meet to go to a less restrictive tier, the County must also get below a composite health equity score of 5.2% to move to the Orange tier.  BUT, the metric does not on its own allow the County to advance to a less restrictive tier.  The other metrics must also be met.  As noted in previous newsletter bulletins, the “health equity” metric is a composite score of over two dozen factors including number of residents living in poverty, educational attainment, employment, home ownership, household overcrowding, air quality and access to goods and services like grocery stores.  For more information on the state’s health equity program, please click HERE.
State of California announced rebates for commercial EV charging stations
In late October, the State of California, in partnership with the Center for Sustainable Energy and the California Energy Commission, announced a $21.7 million rebate program aimed at increasing the number of electric vehicle charging stations in San Diego County.  Part of the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project, the rebate program will offer businesses and other entities rebates to install charging stations at workplaces, multi-family and other properties.  Under the program, applicants can receive up to $6,000 for a commercial grade Level 2 charger and as much as $80,000 for a high-powered DC fast charger.  Interested BOMA members can go to the CalEVP website for more information or apply by clicking HERE.
Bill proposed in Congress to make the 179D energy efficiency tax deduction permanent
Legislation was introduced last month to make the 179D, or the “Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction” permanent.  Introduced by Congressman Roger Williams, the bill (number not yet assigned) is an important step to ensure the viability of energy efficiency investments.
According to BOMA International, the tax deduction was first enacted in 2005.  Known as 179D, it has offered commercial building owners up to $1.80 per square foot to offset some of the costs for major energy-efficient improvements made to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; the building envelope; and lighting upgrades that exceed ASHRAE Standard 90.1 by 50 percent. A partial deduction of $.60 per square foot also has been available for retrofits of individual building systems. 179D remains the sole federal energy efficiency incentive for commercial buildings.
BOMA has long been an advocate for both improving the deduction and making it permanent. BOMA COO & President, Henry Chamberlain, testified in March of 2018 before the House Ways & Means Committee on behalf of making 179D permanent, and staff appeared before a 2019 select Senate Committee on Cost Recovery as well. BOMA applauds this bills introduction and looks forward to working with all of our champions on Capitol Hill to make 179D the best incentive for commercial building owners and managers retrofitting their buildings to save energy, save money and preserve the planet.
There will be more to come on this bill and the ways you, as a BOMA member, can support its passage… so, please stay tuned!
PROP 15 UPDATE – the SPLIT ROLL Initiative continues to be a 50-50 proposition
As you know, Proposition 15 (this is the SPLIT ROLL measure sponsored by the CA Teachers Association, SEIU and the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative) was placed on the November 2020 ballot.  Since the summer, the respective sides have raised tens of millions of dollars both for and against the measure.  The business community, including BOMA California and BOMA San Diego have strongly opposed the proposed splitting of the property tax rolls and upending Prop 13 protections on commercial real estate.  Polling suggests the voters aren’t convinced, however, showing a near even split leading into election day.  To refresh, the measure would split the property tax rolls between residential and commercial properties, reassess eligible commercial properties to current market value and, then, reassess those properties every three years.  It is estimated that this would be a nearly $12 BILLION tax increase that will impact small businesses and tenants.  For more information on the opposition campaign to protect Prop 13 and commercial properties, please go to the Stop Higher Property Taxes committee webpage HERE.  More to come on this!
The City of San Diego BEGAN FULL enforcement of parking regulations, including the issuance of citations, on October 15, 2020.  Full enforcement was suspended March 16th and was expected to begin in July.  Since then, it has been delayed several times.  Limited enforcement of painted red, white and blue curb regulations has been in effect since March 16th.  There was a TWO-WEEK grace period from October 1 to October 15 where people received warnings instead of tickets.  So, be aware and make your guests and tenants aware!
REMINDER – The City of San Diego Development Services Informational Bulletin is available to BOMA members
The City of San Diego’s Development Services Department has been enhancing efforts to communicate service changes and improvements as a part of its program to better inform their customers.  You can find previous informational notices issued since last spring HERE.  The bulletins cover issues ranging from hours of operation, service area changes, permit requirements, submittal changes, etc.  In order to sign up to receive these notices directly, please go to this LINK and enter your contact information. 
REMINDER – The City of San Diego Development Services Express Service Request
The City of San Diego Development Services Department has announced that Express Services for plan review can now be requested when submitting an online permit application.  To access, check the box for “Express Services” at the bottom of the online permit application form. Note that Express Services are not available for all project types and are based upon staff availability. If your project qualifies for express processing, additional fees will be charged. See Information Bulletin 501 (HERE) and Information Bulletin 502 (HERE) for additional information and fees for Express Services.