Santa Rosa, CA – July 10, 2018 – The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday, July 10, to introduce an ordinance that will place on the Nov. 6 ballot a one-eighth-cent sales tax measure for regional and local park improvements.
If approved by voters, the sales tax would support the county and cities with their long-term needs to maintain parks, protect natural resources, reduce wildfire risks, provide health and recreation programs, and open new parks and trails.
The Board's action introduced the ordinance that would establish the tax. The Board is scheduled to consider adopting the ordinance at its Aug. 7 meeting. If approved in November by two-thirds of voters countywide, the tax measure would go into effect in April of 2019.
“Sonoma County has assembled one of the most diverse park systems in California, but it lacks the funding that a network of this size needs. Now we’re at a critical juncture,” said Board Chairman James Gore. “Either we place this measure before voters or we consider cutting services, decreasing maintenance even further, and limiting the growth of the parks system.”
The tax would generate an estimated $11.5 annually for 10 years, with $7.6 million going to Regional Parks and a total of $3.8 million going to the county’s nine cities. An integral part of the proposed measure is its expenditure plan, which details how the revenue would be spent, and calls for an oversight committee to ensure the funds are used for their intended purposes.
Passage of the measure would allow Regional Parks to:
- Invest in maintenance of parks, trails, signs, buildings and other infrastructure, including an estimated $20 million in deferred maintenance
- Complete construction of trails and amenities in existing parks
- Improve playgrounds, sports fields, restrooms, picnic areas, and visitor centers
- Improve access to parks by extending or building regional trails, including bike paths, coastal trails, and river trails.
- Open publicly owned parklands that are currently not accessible
- Protect natural resources, including waterways and wildlife habitat
- Reduce wildfire risks through vegetation management
If successful, the measure would allow cities to invest in similar park needs, with individual cities determining how best to prioritize their projects.
To see the July 10 Board report, proposed ordinance, and expenditure plan, go to http://sonoma-county.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=&event_id=949&meta_id=246189.
For more information, please contact Regional Parks' Project Manager James Nantell at (707) 565-2041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Sonoma County Regional Parks
The Regional Parks system includes 56 parks, beaches, and trails throughout Sonoma County. Regional Parks’ mission is to create healthy communities and contribute to the county’s economic vitality by acquiring, developing, managing, maintaining parks. Regional Parks preserves natural and cultural resources and offers opportunities for recreation and education that enhance the quality of life and well-being of residents and visitors.