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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
Ballot and voting information for zip code 94086.
This is an archive of a past election.

Park Charter Fund ExtensionCharter Amendment

County
June 7, 2016California Primary Election

Santa Clara County
Measure A Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passed

310,794 votes yes (78.08%)

87,240 votes no (21.92%)

  • 100% of precincts reporting (932/932).
  • 430,779 ballots counted.

To continue protecting and preserving local parks; improving access to natural areas, open space, trails and recreational opportunities; keeping restrooms and facilities clean and safe; and maintaining, operating, acquiring and improving local parks, shall the Santa Clara County Park Charter Fund, established in 1972, be extended by an annual general fund transfer estimated to equal 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation of all property for 15 years, without increasing taxes and all funds benefitting Santa Clara County parks?

Information provided by Santa Clara County Council of League of Women Voters

The Question

(requires a simple majority to pass)   Shall the Santa Clara County Park Charter Fund, established in 1972, be extended by an annual general fund transfer estimated to equal 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation of all property for 15 years, without increasing taxes and all funds benefiting Santa Clara County parks?   

The Situation

Santa Clara County maintains and operates a park system of 29 parks including more than 50,000 acres of land throughout the county.   

The Park Charter Fund, established by voters in 1972, is a dedicated fund and is the primary source of funding for the county park system. The Fund is used for acquiring land, for capital projects, and for operations and maintenance. By County charter, a fixed portion of revenue collected from property taxes is “set aside” for the Park Charter Fund. 

Voters determine the “set aside” amount and its allocation. The Park Charter Fund has gone to voters for approval seven times, and each time has been approved.  

The current set aside for the Park Charter Fund is 1.425 cents per $100 of assessed value of all real and personal property in Santa Clara County. And the current allocation, based on the 2006 plan approved by voters, requires that 15% be used for the purchase of new land for parks, at least 5% for park development, and the remaining 80% for the operation and maintenance of County Parks. The 2006 voter approved set aside and allocation requirements would expire on June 30, 2021.

 

The Proposal

Measure A is not a tax measure but a measure affecting how much money can be allocated for parks from the Santa Clara County General Fund. It would change the “set aside” amount from 1.425 cents to 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed property taxes beginning July 1, 2017. The allocation for use of those funds would require that at least 10% be used for park development, 10% be used for purchase of new land for parks, and the remaining 80% for operations and maintenance. This measure was approved and submitted by the County Board of Supervisors. If approved by the voters, it would expire on June 30, 2032.

This measure is coming before voters to change the allocation of funds so more dollars may be directed toward capital improvements, an increase from 5% to 10%, and fewer dollars for purchase of new land; the County has 12,000 acres of land that cannot be opened to public access until capital improvements are made. 

 

Fiscal effect

Since this measure is not a new tax, nor an increase in taxes, it does not affect the taxpayers and only requires a majority vote to pass. Rather, it proposes a slight increase and re-allocation of how much is “set aside” from the current property taxes that the County receives.  

Supporters say

• Measure A will protect, preserve and enhance Santa Clara County Parks and renews the only guaranteed, local source of funding for county parks.

• Measure A will update restroom and park facilities, upgrade aging roads, parking lots and trailheads, and improve access to multiuse trails.

• Measure A is NOT a parcel tax and will not increase taxes but restores a fractional rate reduction made in 2006 and increases the amount for capital improvements. 

 

Opponents say

• Measure A commits a portion of the General Fund to a particular use.

• Measure A restricts how General Funds will be used.

• Elected officials should be free to allocate funds based on current priorities and efficiencies, and Measure A limits the supervisors’ abilities to make those decisions.

 

Impartial analysis / Proposal

The County of Santa Clara operates and maintains parks throughout the county. Currently, the County Charter requires that the County set aside a portion of the property tax it collects and deposit that amount in the County park fund. The amount of the set aside is 1.425 cents per $100 of assessed value of all real and personal property in Santa Clara County. The County must use at least fifteen percent of the set aside funds for the acquisition of real property for County park purposes, and at least five percent for park development. The County must use the remaining amount for the operation of County parks. These set aside and funding requirements expire on June 30, 2021. 
  

Measure A would amend the County Charter to:
 

  •   extend the process of setting aside a portion of the property tax the County collects and depositing that amount in the County park fund for 11 years, until June 30, 2032. Beginning on July 1, 2017, this measure would raise the amount of that set aside to 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed value of all real and personal property in Santa Clara County; and
      
  •   require the County to use at least ten percent of the set aside funds for the acquisition of real property and at least ten percent of the funds for park development for County park purposes. The remaining amount would be used for County park operations.
      

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors placed Measure A on the ballot.
 

A "yes" vote is a vote to extend the process of setting aside a portion of the property tax the County collects and depositing that amount into the County park fund from June 30, 2021 until June 30, 2032; increase the amount of that set aside beginning on July 1, 2017 from 1.425 cents to 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed value of property in Santa Clara County; and require that at least ten percent of the set aside funds be used for the acquisition of property for park purposes, at least 10 percent be used for park development and the remaining amount be used for park operations.
  

A "no" vote is a vote is to not make these changes, and to continue the set aside of a portion of the property tax the County collects and deposit into the County park fund until June 30, 2021 at the current rate of 1.425 cents per $100 of assessed value of property, and to keep the current requirements that at least fifteen percent of the set aside funds be used for acquisition of property for park purposes, at least five percent be used for park development and the remaining amount be used for park operations. 

 

Prepared by:  /s/ Joshua S. White

Deputy City Attorney

City and County of San Francisco

 

On behalf of:  /s/ Orry P. Korb

County Counsel


 

— Santa Clara County, Registrar of Voters

YES vote means

A "yes" vote is a vote to extend the process of setting aside a portion of the property tax the County collects and depositing that amount into the County park fund from June 30, 2021 until June 30, 2032; increase the amount of that set aside beginning on July 1, 2017 from 1.425 cents to 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed value of property in Santa Clara County; and require that at least ten percent of the set aside funds be used for the acquisition of property for park purposes, at least 10 percent be used for park development and the remaining amount be used for park operations. 

   

 

NO vote means

A "no" vote is a vote is to not make these changes, and to continue the set aside of a portion of the property tax the County collects and deposit into the County park fund until June 30, 2021 at the current rate of 1.425 cents per $100 of assessed value of property, and to keep the current requirements that at least fifteen percent of the set aside funds be used for acquisition of property for park purposes, at least five percent be used for park development and the remaining amount be used for park operations. 

Arguments FOR

 

Vote YES on Measure A to protect, preserve, expand and enhance our outstanding Santa Clara County Parks.

 

Thanks to community support, we have beautiful open space, trails and parks right here in our community making it a wonderful place to live.  Whether you use Alviso Marina on the Bay; Mt. Madonna and Uvas Canyon in the Santa Cruz Mountains; urban parks like Vasona, Hellyer, and Ed Levin; remote Grant Ranch and Coyote-Bear Ranch; or trails such as at Rancho San Antonio or along Los Gatos Creek, Penitencia Creek, and Coyote Creek, or just  want  to walk your dog—we all enjoy the benefits of county parks!

Measure A does NOT increase taxes.

 

Since 1972, voters have repeatedly approved the Park Charter Fund to provide stable, locally-controlled funding to protect our parks, trails and open space.  This essential local funding now needs to be renewed.  Your YES vote to renew is critical.

 

Measure A renews the only guaranteed, local source of funding we have for our Santa Clara County parks.  Measure A protects and improves the investment we have already made.  We need your YES vote.

 

YES on A to Protect Our Parks

 

     Maintains water quality by protecting land around rivers, lakes and streams

     Updates the restrooms and park facilities and keep them clean and safe

     Protects and preserves our local parks

     Updates aging roads, parking lots, and trailheads

     Improves access to multiuse trails

     Improves access to natural areas and open space

Measure A funds will stay here in our community, protecting our parks, trails and open space in Santa Clara County.

Vote YES on A—maintain and improve over 50,000 acres of incredible landscapes and open space right here in Santa Clara County.

 

/s/ Dave Cortese

President, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

/s/ Blanca Alvarado

 

/s/ Rod Diridon, Sr.

Chair, Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voters

 

/s/ Carl Guardino

President & CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

 

/s/ Yoriko Kishimoto

President, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

 

 

 

Arguments AGAINST

Arguments AGAINST

How many residents (and non-residents) use county parks each year?

How much money is raised by this parcel tax? How is the money used?

The County of Santa Clara government spends a fortune every year on fat salaries and costly benefits for many of its 15,000 full-time employees and on lucrative private-sector contracts.

It is time (indeed, long overdue) that the County government explain to voters exactly why it needs so much money-including from this parcel tax.

 

/s/ W. Dito

Resident of Milpitas

Replies to Arguments FOR

To clarify, Measure A is not a new tax but the commitment of a portion of the county government's general fund to particular purposes.

The trouble with committing portions of a budget to particular purposes is that there is only so much money to go around.  In general, elected officials should be free to allocate funds based on current priorities and efficiencies overall.

At the federal government level, most of the annual budget has already been established by laws-leaving members of Congress to fight over other spending.  The persistence of this "non-discretionary spending" has contributed to annual budget deficits and a national (government) debt of over $19 trillion.

I am not suggesting that the county government is necessarily as WASTEFUL as the federal government or even other local agencies in handing out salaries, benefits and private-sector contracts.

Here locally, we have a Santa Clara Valley Water District that has so much money it can hand out "golden parachutes" to retiring employees and add unnecessary chemicals to the drinking water-such as hydrofluoric acid.

For another example, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), funds projects that are quite inefficient and go way over budget.  Despite its poor record, the VTA is planning to ask voters for still more money this November!.

There is only so much money to go around.  We must look at the bigger picture.

 

/s/ W. Dito

Resident of Milpitas

 

 

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Thanks to Mr.Dito for asking some clarifying questions.  Here are the facts:

Measure A is NOT a parcel tax:  it is a small set aside of the existing property tax to support county parks.

Measure A will not increase your taxes.

Measure A restores the small fractional rate-cut made in 2006 and increases the portion that goes to capital improvements.

Measure A is the only guaranteed, local source of funding for our Santa Clara County Parks.  This funding has been in place for 43 years by voters' support.

Measure A is essential. Measure A will fund essential repairs, upgrades and patrols to keep our parks open and safe.

Our beloved parks are well-used by local residents.  Over 3 million visitors of all ages enjoy our parks each year.

Measure A stays local.  All funds will stay right here in our community, protecting our parks, trails and open space in Santa Clara County.

Measure A protects the investment we have already made.  Our community has supported and protected local parks for many years.  We need to continue this commitment  for ourselves, and future generations.

Community leaders agree―we need Measure A. Measure A is supported by community leaders, seniors, business leaders, parents and residents throughout Santa Clara County.

Join us―vote YES on Measure A for our parks, withouincreasing taxes.

/s/ Cindy Chavez

Santa Clara County Supervisor

 

/s/ Zoe Lofgren

Congresswoman

 

/s/ Gloria Chun Hoo

Chair, Leagues of Women Voters of Santa Clara County

 

/s/ Mike Wasserman

Santa Clara County Supervisor

 

Proposed legislation

(1)   The existing Section 604 of the County Charter shall remain in full force and effect until midnight on June 30, 2017, at which time subsections (2) through (6) of this section 604 below shall take immediate effect without further action.

(2)   Beginning on July 1, 2017, the Board of Supervisors shall transfer from the general fund to the County Park fund an amount of money which shall not be less than an amount estimated by the Auditor-Controller to equal the amount that would be raised for that year by a tax of $0.015 per One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) of assessed valuation of all real and personal property situated within the County of Santa Clara.  In addition, the Board of Supervisors shall transfer into such fund all fees and revenues generated by the operation of County Parks and all other monies received from the United States Government, State of California, or any other public agency or any person for County park purposes.  Any interest earned on the investment of money in the County Park fund shall be credited to the fund.

(3)   The Board of Supervisors shall appropriate this money into the County Park fund for the acquisition, development, or acquisition and development of real property for County park purposes and for the maintenance and operation of County parks.  At least 10% of the funds transferred from the general fund shall be set aside and used for park development for County park purposes, and at least 10% of the funds transferred from the general fund shall be set aside and used for the acquisition of real property for County park purposes, and the remaining funds shall be used for County Park operations.

(4)   The county shall not acquire real property for any County park purpose until the Board of Supervisors has determined that the acquisition is in conformity with the adopted County Parks and Recreation Element of the General Plan.

(5)   This section shall be operative commencing with the fiscal year 2017-2018 (beginning on July 1, 2017) and shall be repealed at the end of fiscal year 2031-2032 (ending on June 30, 2032); provided, however, any unobligated monies remaining in the fund on June 30, 2032, shall be used only for the purposes set forth in subsection (3) of this section 604.

(6)   The intent of this section 604 is to ensure that a minimum amount of money will be placed into the County Park fund for acquisition, development, operation and maintenance purposes.  Nothing in this section shall be construed as a limitation on any additional amount of money the Board of Supervisors may transfer into the County Park fund for County park purposes or otherwise appropriate for County park purposes.

 

 

 

 

— May 18, 2016 League of Women Voters-Palo Alto
Mary Jo Levy of the Palo Alto League of Women Voters shares pros and cons on all ballot measures faced by Palo Alto voters in the June 7, 2016 primary - including Santa Clara County Measures A and AA, as well as CA Prop 50.
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