Friday, January 18, 2008

JPA & Benefit District Taxation



For Immediate Release
January 18, 2008
Sacramento, California


Some public resources are so valuable, like the Parkway, that they lend themselves more to acquiring a permanent and dedicated source of supplemental funding through philanthropy rather than taxation.

In light of a new tax being proposed on Parkway adjacent property owners to help fund the Parkway,it is a good time to reiterate our position on Parkway funding.

We have advocated that baseline Parkway funding come initially through a Joint Power Authority (JPA) of the local government entities with an interest in the Parkway and that the JPA contract with a nonprofit organization to provide daily management and supplemental funding for the Parkway through philanthropic efforts rather than taxation.

This method has proven successful with valuable public resources like Central Park in New York and the Sacramento Zoo.

The formation of a JPA as part of the new tax proposal is also being discussed and the JPA model to involve Parkway interested government entities is a very important step in reaching the level of regional involvement with the Parkway necessary for long term stability and we support this effort.

A JPA is being used for similar purposes very successfully in Southern California:

“The San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority was formed as a separate agency on June 12, 1989, by the County of San Diego and the Cities of Del Mar, Escondido, Poway, San Diego and Solana Beach. It was empowered to acquire, plan, design, improve, operate and maintain the San Dieguito River Park. The vision of the River Park is to preserve and interpret the natural and cultural resources of the river valley from the river's source on Volcan Mountain, north of Julian, to the Pacific Ocean in Del Mar”

An additional two points regarding any new taxes being imposed for the Parkway:

1) Sacramento County residents are already being taxed for parks and any new taxes providing service for the county should be approached in the appropriate way, through a county-wide tax proposal which requires a 2/3 vote.

2) The Parkway adjacent property tax is essentially unfair as it taxes some property owners for a regional resource benefiting all residents and the Parkway is a regional resource, as reflected in virtually all of the reports about it, and certainly in our membership which includes members from Auburn, Davis, Elk Grove, Folsom, Gold River, Granite Bay, Rocklin, Roseville and Sacramento.

The American River Parkway is an absolutely wonderful resource, and even with the many problems it has, it is treasured by the regional community.

With this deep well of support, it would seem that structuring the opportunity for long-term philanthropic support solely dedicated to the Parkway through a nonprofit organization partnering with a JPA, would be the approach most embraced by the community.

Organizational Leadership
American River Parkway Preservation Society
Sacramento, California
January 18, 2008