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Vote For Our Parks
Measure G offers hope for future generations
By Susan Maxwell Skinner
Carmichael Recreation and Park District is asking—begging—for funds to bring facilities in 13 parks up to scratch. Measure G, a general obligation bond on the November ballot, would yield nearly $32 million for CRPD projects.
A lot of money, sure. But it’s about one-third of what’s needed to cover everything on the district’s wish list. Though no one likes new taxes, few Carmichaelites would prefer the consequences if the measure fails.
Our parks and facilities are in bad shape. Most were built 60 years ago. Since then, the area’s population has grown, amenity use has increased and financial support has diminished. CRPD’s income from facility rentals barely covers maintenance, let alone upgrades.
The community has chipped in. The Carmichael Parks Foundation, service groups and individuals have been generous. A recent SMUD grant replaced rusted-shut windows in our 70-year-old Veteran’s Hall.
But the sun needs to shine elsewhere. Handicap accessibility must improve. Restrooms are old and inadequate. New security lights and fences are needed. Playgrounds, picnic equipment—even trash cans—are undersupplied. These are not luxury projects. They’re amenities expected in much-used public places.
CRPD is one of few Sacramento districts that’s unassisted by an Improvement Measure. In 2014, voters said yes for an assessment to fund park needs. Initial taxes were collected. Then—for reasons no one seems to adequately explain—a curmudgeonly private lawsuit overturned our choice. Still impoverished, CRPD went back to the drawing board.
The district has harnessed staff skills to mend roofs, fix leaks and build retaining walls. It has soldiered through penury, pandemic and public complaint. In the meantime, more things break and decay. Repairs have got more costly.
Measure G proposes a tax that’s calculated on county (not market) valuation of all properties—home, commercial and agricultural—within CRPD boundaries. The rate is fixed at $19 for each $100,000 of assessed value per year. So, if the county thinks your home is worth $500,000, your annual contribution would be $95.
The T (tax) word is as welcome as brass washers in a collection plate. But if we preserve parks for future generations, then shelling out annually what some folk pay for lattes each month is a modest ask. By law, the money can’t be channeled away from the district or used for anything but parks and facilities.
Parks are venues for fun events. They help mental health, offer worthy programs, and socialize kids and dogs. Well-maintained parks improve business and home values. More than 26,500 Carmichael voters are eligible to decide this initiative. Do we all use parks? Perhaps not. But we probably all have friends and loved ones that do.
If voters pass the bond measure next month, could it again be overturned? This time, the Sacramento Taxpayers Association is not opposing it. With the required establishment of a citizens’ oversight committee, Measure G’s champions believe approval would stand.
They have a broader support base than in 2014. An impressive VIP force is behind them. Proponents reach out at park events, townhalls, service clubs—they’re diligent and everywhere.
If their campaign fails, the future could be bleak for our parks and users.
Susan Maxwell Skinner is a photojournalist and Carmichael community supporter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.