Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Parkway Taxes

Increasing taxes on people who may or may not use the Parkway to benefit it, isn’t really fair, nor is there any assurance the taxes, once collected will be used wisely by the County to support the Parkway.

The record so far of the management of the Parkway by the County over the past few decades is one of ineffectiveness, (most clearly seen in their lack of follow through on the 1985 Parkway Plan which called for five year reviews and updates that were ignored until 2003 resulting in several problems of public safety and maintenance to develop that were not dealt with, as well as their inability to keep the Lower Reach of the Parkway clear from large scale illegal camping that resulted in several habitat destroying fires from illegal camper’s fires that spread, river pollution from human waste, and the more serious crimes of robbery, rape, and murder) inappropriate turf wars, (most recently visible in their refusal to allow the city of Rancho Cordova to become involved in the Parkway Planning Update process at the level deserved due to their city’s borders large congruence with those of the Parkway).

Under these conditions and this history, it would be difficult to support throwing more money to solve a problem largely created by poor management of existing money that has been the hallmark that sadly tarnished the once glittering promise the founding of the Parkway envisioned.

Survey gauges public support for parkway tax district
By Ed Fletcher - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, April 11, 2007

George Gridley needs convincing. He agrees the American River Parkway is "a jewel" that needs protecting -- heck, his Fair Oaks home overlooks the river -- but he isn't sure the recreation area needs homeowners to chip in more money, as some local elected officials and parkway advocates suggest.

"Throwing money at a problem doesn't solve the problem," Gridley said.

Gridley was among hundreds of Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, Folsom and unincorporated Sacramento County residents called in a phone survey about the 23-mile parkway. He declined to participate. But the answers of 500 who did will help officials craft a mail-in ballot proposal asking property owners to support an assessment district augmenting the parkway budget. Officials hope to get the ballots in the mail within the year.

The survey, by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates of Oakland, found that area property owners overwhelmingly like the American River Parkway but show lukewarm support of a suggested $30 annual assessment to support the recreation area.

Two-thirds of the respondents said they had a "very favorable" or "somewhat favorable" overall perception of the parkway. Support of the $30 assessment came in at 51 percent, according to preliminary data released by a working group of elected officials. The survey, conducted between March 29 and April 2, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.