Our letter was published in the Bee today responding to a recent editorial.
Seek private support of parks
Re "Needed: Some honesty about county revenues" (Editorial, Dec. 29): We agree with the editorial calling for an honest reporting of the current financial situation the County of Sacramento finds itself in.
Honesty and transparency in government are crucial to maintain the respect and trust of the already heavily taxed public to help ensure a more hospitable reception for those times – such as the current period – when taxes and fees may need to be increased to cover public work.
If it does turn out that the county is short on funds, one of the first to suffer is parks, and in one significant case – that of the American River Parkway – there is a funding option other governments are using that could be considered.
Partnering with a public nonprofit corporation to provide management and philanthropic support for the parkway – as is being done by the Central Park Conservancy, which raises 85 percent of needed funding for New York City's Central Park, is a proven method of reducing government spending while increasing private support for important recreational open space.
It's an option whose time may have come.
– David H. Lukenbill, Sacramento
senior policy director, American River Parkway Preservation Society
An excerpt from the editorial.
“You'd have to be Rip Van Winkle not to know that private and government budgets are pinched this year.
“But Sacramento County appears not to have noticed. As late as last month, county officials were still projecting a sales and property tax growth for the fiscal year of 2 percent. That seemed wildly optimistic then and seems even more so now. Nonetheless, the county refuses to back off from that projection, at least officially.
“Last month, county fiscal officers said they didn't want to deal in speculation. The county promised to disclose the actual sales and property tax receipts after they were reported in December. Now it's almost January, and county officials still refuse to disclose if there has been a sales and property tax shortfall and what it is.”