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Sacramento County Supervisors to Pursue Legislation for Parks Funding Options

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted 4 -1 yesterday to seek state legislation that would give the County the option of pursuing a 0.1 percent sales tax increase to generate revenue for regional parks.

“It is important to keep all our options on the table as we study long term funding for the valuable economic engine that is our regional parks system,” said Interim County Executive Steve Szalay. “Having the option of bringing this sales tax item to the voters is just one of the many ideas we are developing as we work towards the best solution for our parks. There are many variables to be studied and this is merely one step in the process.”

Though the governor recently signed a bill that would allow cities and counties to pursue a one‐eighth cent, or .125 percent sales tax increase, this legislation would provide the option of pursuing a lower tax rate. The idea was brought forth by the Grass Roots Working Group who studied parks funding and governance options and brought their recommendation to the Board earlier this year. If approved by two thirds of voters, the tax could raise an estimated $17M annually and could be used to support all of the parks within the County, including the American River Parkway.

"With the most recent Board action we've preserved as one option giving Sacramento County voters the opportunity to consider a 110th cent sales tax for parks maintenance and operation,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna. “The Board of Supervisors did not vote to institute a sales tax increase."

Yesterday’s Board vote gave staff the direction to pursue legislation so that the option is available if the Board decides to pursue bringing the tax to the voters. An advisory committee to the County Executive is being formed to continue studying ideas and options. Further reports and recommendations will be scheduled at the Board as the process continues.

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