Great Value for Half Moon Bay Landlords
Half Moon Bay began as a rural agriculture area, primarily used for grazing of cattle, horses, and oxen used by Mission San Francisco de Asis (established in June 1776). Following the secularization of the Mission, Tiburcio Vásquez received the Rancho Corral de Tierra Mexican land grant in 1839 and Candelario Miramontes was granted Rancho Miramontes (later known as Rancho San Benito) in 1841.
The community began to develop in the 1840s as the first real town in San Mateo County. Known originally as San Benito, the town was renamed Spanishtown and attracted a thriving fishing industry in addition to its continued importance to coastal agriculture. Spanishtown became a racially diverse community, settled by Canadians, Chinese, English, Germans, Irish, Mexicans, Italians, Scots, Portuguese, and Pacific Islanders. Regular stagecoach service was established with San Mateo; coaches also served the communities of Purissima, Lobitos, and San Gregorio. Levy Brothers opened a department store in downtown Half Moon Bay. Spanishtown was officially renamed Half Moon Bay in 1874.
The area grew very slowly, even after the Ocean Shore Railroad began serving the community in 1907. The construction of Pedro Mountain Road in 1914 provided better access to San Francisco and probably contributed to the demise of the railroad by 1920. The USS DeLong ran aground at Half Moon Bay 1 December 1921. During Prohibition "rum runners" took advantage of dense fog and hidden coves in the area to serve a number of roadhouses and inns, some of which operate today as restaurants. Real growth in the area came after World War II with the construction of numerous subdivisions, eventually leading to the incorporation of Half Moon Bay in 1959. The city preserves a historic downtown district which includes historic buildings dating as far back as 1869.
In 2008, financial setbacks endangered the city's viability. The economic crisis severely affected tourism, which generates the most revenue, and that just at the time when the city had finalized a $18 million settlement over a property lawsuit. As the municipal budget was typically $14 million or less, city fathers had issued bonds with annual payments of approximately $1 million over 25 years. As a result of these combined fiscal obstacles, the threat of bankruptcy was very real. Dozens of meetings were held in order to decide where the budget should be cut and finally 75% of municipal employees were laid off and replaced with contract workers. Also, employee contributions toward retirement benefits were raised. However, the city council sought to regain the money paid in the settlement, believing that it should have been paid by the city's insurers. A lawsuit against the insurers was decided in 2013 and the insurer ordered to pay more than $13 million to the city; the costs of the lawsuit had been partially covered by the Association of Bay Area Governments.
Since then, the City's finances have shown great improvement. The City was able to retire the first of its two 30-year Judgment Obligation Bonds (2009A Series Bonds) a full 20 years early. The early retirement will save the City over $426,000 in annual General Fund expenses starting in 2015-16. The second set of Judgment Obligation Bonds (2009B Series Bonds) will be retired in 2019, 18 years ahead of schedule with a combination of annual payments from the City Budget and funds already on deposit with the Bond Trustee obtained in settlements with two of the City’s insurance carriers. The early retirement of the 2009B Series Bonds will reduce the General Fund budget expenditure by almost $700,000 per year and will provide funding for the annual debt service on the Lease Revenue Bonds for the New Half Moon Bay Library.