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GRASS ROOTS WORKING GROUP

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GRASS ROOTS WORKING GROUP

GRASS ROOTS WORKING GROUP

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System

PROGRESS REPORT NO. 1

    A Report to the Public and the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors

September 7, 2010

Grassroots Working Group

    C/o Save the American River Association

    4441 Auburn Blvd. Suite H, Sacramento CA 95841

    Phone: 916-482-2551 ? Email: info@sarariverwatch.org

    The Save the American River Association (SARA) supports the Grassroots Working Group. SARA has recognized that the threat to our Regional Parks and Open Space System posed by the ongoing County budget crisis is also a serious threat to the American River Parkway that cannot be mitigated by actions limited to the American River Parkway. SARA believes that the people, not a piecemeal process, should decide the future of the Regional Parks and Open Space System. If the people decide that they do not value the Regional Parks and Open Space System, the County can always proceed with divestiture of all or part of the Regional Parks and Open Space System.

    Progress Report No. 1

    Contents

Summary……………………………………………………………………………………………… i

The County Mandated Time Line………………………………………………………………….. 1

The Trust for Public Land……………………………………………………………………………2

Save the American River Association (SARA)…………………………………………………… 3

The Grassroots Working Group……………………………………………………………………. 4

The Advisory Committee……………………………………………………………………………. 6

Disposition of Options Considered by the Working Group……………………………………… 7

Budget Estimate……………………………………………………………………………………… 7

Education and Outreach…………………………………………………………………………….. 8

Next Progress Report…………………………………………………………………………………9

Attachment………………………………………………………………………………….. At end of Report

    “Disposition of Options Considered by the Working Group” dated August 21, 2010, including the matrix “Grassroots Working Group Analysis of Options” dated August 13, 2010.

    Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System

    Progress Report No. 1

    SUMMARY

    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 November 1, 2010 Working Group

    ? 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 January 28, 2011 Board of Supervisors

    ? Summit Meeting for public consideration of Grassroots Working Group February 5, 2011 recommendations

Save the American River Association (SARA): The Board of Directors of SARA, by Resolution, has

    recognized that preservation and protection of the American River Parkway requires a thriving, successful Regional Parks and Open Space System. SARA has recognized that the threat posed by the ongoing County budget crisis cannot be mitigated by actions limited to the Parkway alone. SARA supports the Grassroots effort and provides administrative services to the Grassroots Working Group. Successor Effort Needed: The Grassroots Working Group is the first step in the process to secure adequate, stable, long-term funding for our Regional Parks and Open Space System. The outcome of will be a recommended solution, provided by the Grassroots Working Group, during the first Quarter of 2011. The intention is to then turn the project over to a successor effort that will move forward and develop any needed campaign for a successful result on the November, 2012 ballot. It is envisioned that the Grassroots Working Group, after completion of this first phase, will become an advocate for the solution recommended by the Group, monitor the development of any ballot measure(s) and campaign, and work to secure successful passage of ballot measure(s) that incorporate the recommendations of the Grassroots Working Group.

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Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System September 7, 2010

    Progress Report No. 1 - SUMMARY

    Advisory Committee: An Advisory Committee has been formed to periodically review outputs from the Grassroots effort, provide feedback, offer suggestions regarding the Grassroots Working Group's efforts, and provide a forum for discussion. Persons who have volunteered to serve on the Advisory Committee are listed in the report. Persons serve on the Advisory Committee as individuals and not as representatives of the listed affiliation/interest.

    Options Analysis: The Grassroots Working Group has, since first meeting on June 7, 2010, been analyzing options for securing adequate, stable, long term funding for our regional parks and open space lands and facilities. A total of nine options were identified and five of the nine have been selected options for further study.

    The description of each of the options and basis of the sorting of the options is provided in the attachment to this report, “Disposition of Options Considered by the Working Group”, August 26, 2010. A matrix summarizing the results of the Working Group analysis is included in the attachment. Options for Further Study by TPL: The following options have been selected by the Grassroots

    Working Group. The selected options are not listed in any particular order or preference.

    1. New INDEPENDENT Regional Parks and Open Space District

    2. New DEPENDENT Regional Park and Open Space

    3. Non-Profit Conservancy

    4. Countywide Community Services District

    5. Continue County Department of Regional Parks (“No Project Option”)

Options NOT Recommended for Further Study: The following options are not proposed for further

    study. Discussion of the reasons for not selecting these options is provided in the attachment, “Disposition of Options Considered by the Working Group”, August 26, 2010 provided at the end of this Progress Report under “Discussion of Options Not Selected”.

    1. Co-operative Working Relationship among Parks and Open Space

    2. Form a new Community Facilities District

    3. County Service Area 11

    4. County Divests Responsibility for Parks except American River Parkway and Retains Open Space Budget Estimate: The Estimate that will be provided to TPL for use in their work will be based upon an independent regional parks and open space district and will be accurate to within +30% or -15%. The Grassroots Working Group will continue to review and refine this budget in parallel with the TPL work so that the Grassroots Working Group is confident that it is based upon efficient operation and maintenance and includes revenues from user fees and services charges to the maximum extent reasonably practicable. Guiding principles for budget development are described in the report. Education and Outreach: Education and outreach efforts have heretofore focused on fundraising to pay the costs of the TPL Proposal and establishment of the Advisory Committee described earlier. Attention now shifts to include activities to inform the public of (a) the crisis facing our Regional Parks and Open Space System, (b) status of efforts to secure adequate, stable long term funding for our System, and (c) the solution recommended by the Grassroots Working Group. Fund raising efforts also shift to payment of the costs of Education and Outreach activities.

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    Grassroots Working Group

    To Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System

    PROGRESS REPORT NO. 1

    September 7, 2010

    The Grassroots Working Group to Secure Adequate, Stable, Long Term Funding for Our Regional Parks and Open Space System (the “Grassroots Working Group”) has its genesis in the consensus 1reached at the American River Parkway Coalition meeting held on March 12, 2010. This consensus

    identified the following five fundamental conclusions:

    1. The Regional Parks and Open Space System are important to the quality of life and economic

    future of the residents of Sacramento County.

    2. Sacramento County government is unable to provide adequate, long term, stable funding for

    the Regional Parks and Open Space System.

    3. Sacramento County government has the duty, which is on par with the other duties of the

    Board of Supervisors, to preserve the Regional Parks and Open Space System assets and to

    protect these assets from damage.

    4. Sale, transfer, or other disposition of Regional Parks and Open Space System lands or

    facilities to overcome County budget problems is unacceptable.

    5. Sacramento County government, cities and other local agencies should endorse, support, and

    facilitate Grassroots’ efforts to develop adequate, long term, stable funding option(s) for the

    County Regional Parks and Open Space System so that the public can make a decision

    regarding the future of the Regional Parks and Open Space System.

    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.

    The County Mandated Time Line

     A fundamental problem is that our Regional Parks and Open Space System is facing a financial crisis. It is clear that a part of the solution will rest with the public as it considers additional taxes or fees to provide adequate, stable long term funding for the operation and maintenance of our Regional Parks and Open Space System. The other parts are (1) finding more efficient ways of operating and maintaining our Regional Parks and Open Space System and (2) securing revenues from other sources(e.g. user fees and charges, grants) to the maximum extent reasonably practicable.

     2County Regional Parks Department staff has reported that the County is insisting that any proposal needing voter approval be submitted to the voters at the November 2012 general election. This mandate has become a guide post for the conduct of the Grassroots Working Group.