Saturday, September 18, 2010

Parkway Funding

A new group working to develop options for funding county parks has been meeting—replacing the old group who met for several years without success—and one of the options they are considering is a nonprofit conservancy, which is a very good thing.

We were invited to become part of this group in its beginning stages a couple of years ago, but the precondition for inclusion was acceptance of a tax increase strategy, which we could not agree to do, knowing that there is a better way to help the Parkway.

Once you enter into a tax-increase strategy, it becomes normative, and future increases are certain, but our approach, utilizing philanthropy and social enterprise, is much more resilient.

The group's first progress report has been posted.

An excerpt.

“Progress Report No. 1

September 7, 2010

“Clearly, this is a time of both crisis and opportunity. The continuing County budget crisis threatens our Regional Parks and Open Space System. Either we rise to the challenge of funding our Regional Parks and Open Space System or bear witness to the loss of our magnificent public Parkways and Open Space throughout the Sacramento region. The Grassroots Working Group is a response to this crisis.

“Mandated Time Line: County Regional Parks Department staff has advised that any proposal needing voter approval must be submitted to the voters at the November 2012 general election.

“Grassroots Working Group: Membership of the Grassroots Working Group is listed in the report. Persons serving on the Grassroots Working Group serve as individuals.

“Trust for Public Land: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has been engaged to provide (a) feasibility research for options selected by the Working Group, (b) conduct professionally administered, statistically valid public opinion survey through telephone interviews of randomly selected voters in Sacramento County, and (c) provide recommendations for a finance strategy, ballot language, including legal parameters, examples of successful ballot questions and assist in presentation of results. Major milestones for the TPL work and associated Grassroots Working Group activities are as follows:

● Conduct Feasibility Study and submit Draft Report to the Grassroots Working Group November 1, 2010
● Complete Public Opinion Survey December 10, 2010
● TPL provides recommendations to Grassroots Working Group December 21, 2010
● Grassroots Working Group provides recommendations to public and Board of Supervisors January 28, 2011
● Summit Meeting for public consideration of Grassroots Working Group recommendations February 5, 2011"