Friday, August 12, 2011

Parks Tax

The Sacramento Bee got this story on the ongoing negotiations a little more right than their previous reporting, which we blogged about, but the actual story is much better.

The supervisors have—if the state legislature agrees—given themselves the option to ask Sacramento County voters to approve a sales tax increase for parks, if, the new advisory committee they have charged staff with creating, decides that is the best way to go, which, in this economic environment, is very hard to imagine.

A major improvement is that the advisory committee, rather than the incestuous make-up, (see Progress Report # 1, page 5, at the jump) and tax increase default position of the Grassroots Working Group (GWG), other members of the advisory committee will include business interests and a wider representation of other community interests, giving the supervisors a more balanced analysis, and hopefully, if any survey are conducted, full transparency on the process and method, about which many questions have been raised concerning the GWG’s survey.

An excerpt from the Bee story.

“The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will seek state legislation that would give the county the option of pursuing a 0.1 percent sales tax increase to generate revenue for parks.

“Supervisors and members of the Grass Roots Working Group, which backs forming a new regional park district, stressed that the legislation would simply allow the board to put such a tax measure before county voters….

“The Grass Roots Working Group urged the board to pursue the special legislation because surveys have shown voters would support a 0.1 percent increase.

“If approved by two-thirds of county voters, the tax would raise an estimated $17 million annually to support the county's 32 regional parks, including the American River Parkway.

“Rob Leonard, Sacramento County's municipal services agency administrator, said county staff members will recruit people to serve on an ad hoc committee to advise the county executive on matters related to the future of regional parks, including long-term funding, governance and a business model for maintenance and operation.

“The panel is to include representatives of the county Recreation and Parks Commission, Dry Creek Parkway Advisory Committee, American River Parkway Advisory Committee, American River Parkway Foundation, the Grass Roots Working Group, the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, the golf community and supervisorial districts.”