Value of SF property soars $10 billion to $180 billion

(07-10) 09:48 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — So there is a silver lining to San Francisco’s stratospheric real estate prices, if you don’t happen to own property: more money for parks, schools and other government services.

The value of property in the city grew by $10 billion for the fiscal year that started July 1 compared with the last fiscal year. It now totals $180 billion, Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu said Wednesday. That translates into more property taxes flowing to the city, San Francisco Unified School District and BART.

The increase in the property tax roll – up about 6 percent compared with fiscal 2013-14 – means there will be about $2.1 billion in property taxes owed, Chu’s office said. The city alone is expected to see its portion of the property tax pie increase by about $50 million for fiscal 2014-15, according to the assessor-recorder’s office.

This year, all neighborhoods in San Francisco saw an increase in total assessed value, led by the Financial District, South of Market and Mission Bay, followed by South Beach and Pacific Heights. Even through the recession beginning in 2008, San Francisco has never experienced a drop in total property value compared with the previous year, Chu’s office reported.

Commercial and residential properties accounted for $168 billion of the tax rolls for fiscal 2014-15, with business machinery and equipment comprising the remaining $12 billion.

- John Coté

Suicide barrier: Although the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District approved a funding plan for a $76 million suicide net and pitched in $20 million of its own last month, it still has to collect some of the rest of the money.

On Wednesday, it took an important step toward pocketing $27 million when it won the recommendation of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Programming and Allocations Committee. The full commission will consider awarding the funding at its July 23 meeting.

“It’s pretty hard to believe it took 40 years to get here,” said San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, a commissioner. He called the bridge’s status as a suicide magnet “a scar” on its beauty and fame.

Last year, 46 people leapt to their deaths from the bridge, and an estimated 1,600 have killed themselves by jumping from the span since it opened 77 years ago.

As they have for decades, family members of bridge suicide victims urged the committee to approve the funding. Many of them displayed photos of their loved ones, and some choked up and struggled to hold back tears.

“I know if there had been a net, he wouldn’t have jumped,” said Patricia Richards, whose husband, Dan, jumped over the 4 1/2-foot bridge railing in 2010.

- Michael Cabanatuan

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