Skip to Content

Measure M FAQ

Why did Sonoma County ask voters to approve a parks tax measure?

Sonoma County Regional Parks has built one of the most diverse park systems in California. More than 55 parks, trails and beaches attract 5 million annual visits to the Sonoma Coast, Russian River, Sonoma Valley and the county’s other unique landscapes. Park attendance has increased 38 percent since 2010, and parkland has increased by more than 6,000 acres (96 percent). Funding had not kept pace with this growth.  

What are the needs?

The funding needs of Sonoma County’s parks are substantial. They include increasing costs to operate and maintain parks, protect natural resources, reduce wildfire risk, and open new parks. Regional and city parks also are meeting growing demand for recreation, health, safety and education programs, including for our aging population. All of these needs affect our parks systems’ abilities to deliver quality services. 

What are the details of Measure M?

Measure M logo

Voters in Sonoma County were asked in the Nov. 6, 2018 general election to consider Measure M, a one-eighth cent sales tax (0.125%) to support Sonoma County's regional parks system as well as city parks for 10 years. The tax applies to all areas in Sonoma County and was estimated to generate $11.5 million annually for improving and maintaining parks. The measure was approved by 72.6 percent of county voters.

How much does the tax cost?

At 0.125%, the tax adds 3 cents to a $25 purchase and 12 cents to a $100 purchase. 

How does the measure help Sonoma County Regional Parks?

Two-thirds of the funds collected are spent on Sonoma County Regional Parks, enabling the department to: 

  • Maintain parks, trails & open spaces
  • Help protect water quality
  • Reduce risk of future wildfires
  • Protect wildlife habitats & fisheries
  • Improve access for the underserved
  • Support neighborhood parks & recreation

How does the measure benefit city parks?

One-third of all the money is shared by Sonoma County’s cities to maintain and improve local parks. Each city determines how best to prioritize its funding projects. Each city has diverse needs, as Regional Parks managers learned through countywide outreach it began in 2015. 

How does the tax help make our parks safer?

Funds will be used to maintain parks and trails, restore parks impacted by fires, reduce wildfire fuels, address invasive plants, improve signs and maps for visitors, modernize facilities, including restrooms, and maintain sports fields and recreation areas – all of which help make our parks safer.  

How can we be sure the tax revenue is spent on parks?

A citizens oversight committee regularly reviews how revenue is spent and ensures public transparency throughout the measure's 10-year life. The committee  produces annual reports and presents them to the Board of Supervisors at public meetings. The measure requires that revenue not be used to reduce existing funding for parks and recreation. 

Does the sales tax apply to all areas of Sonoma County?

Yes, all jurisdictions within Sonoma County, including every city and unincorporated area, is having the tax collected. 

How are the funds spent?

The measure’s expenditure plan designates revenue for specific needs within four categories. Each category receives a percentage of the revenues:

  • Support for local parks, recreation needs and fire risk reduction – 33.3%
  • Protect water quality, wildlife habitat and natural resources in Sonoma County's regional parks, trails and open space preserves – 18.3%
  • Investing in maintenance, safety and recreation services in Sonoma County's regional parks, trails and open space preserves – 25%
  • Improve access to Sonoma County's regional parks, trails and open space preserves - 23.4%

Who pays the tax?

Anyone who buys a taxable good in Sonoma County contributes to the tax revenue, regardless of where they live, including tourists. Many taxable purchases are discretionary, according to county tax data, with the greatest taxable spending on wine, gas station purchases, and restaurant meals. 

How can I get more information?

If you have questions and comments about Measure M, please email Regional Parks at