Santa Cruz County Parks Parcel Tax, Measure F (June 2014)

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A Santa Cruz County Parks Parcel Tax, Measure F ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in Santa Cruz County, California, where it was approved.

This measure authorized a parcel tax on all improved parcels of land in the unincorporated areas of the county at a rate of $8.50 per parcel. The annual revenue from this tax was estimated at $355,000 and was earmarked for cleaning and maintaining park restrooms, county park and recreational areas, beaches and other open space areas. The revenue was also designed to be used to offer activities for children and youth, such as recreation programs, swim lessons, art programs and science programs.[1]

Prior to Measure F, Santa Cruz County park service maintained its 59 parks and open space areas and beach access encompassing over 1400 acres in part through an annual service charge of $6.58 per residential unit, which was set to expire at the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The tax proposed by Measure F was designed to take the place of this service charge, which generated about $298,000 during the fiscal year of 2012-13.[1][2]

A 2/3rds supermajority vote was required for the approval of this measure.

Election results

Measure F
Approveda Yes 19,438 76.24%
Election results from Santa Cruz County Elections Office

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[2]

Funding for Santa Cruz County Parks. To properly maintain Santa Cruz County parks, facilities, beach access, and open space; clean bathrooms; repair roofs and electrical systems; keep facilities open and safe; provide recreation to children, teenagers, families, and seniors: shall Santa Cruz County levy an annual tax of $8.50 per improved parcel, replacing an expiring service charge on residential units within the County’s Park and Recreation District, with all funds staying local? [3]

Impartial analysis

The following impartial analysis of Measure F was prepared by the office of the county counsel:[2]

If this measure is approved by at least two-thirds of those voting on it, the County of Santa Cruz (“County”) will be authorized to levy a special tax on real property. The tax would be imposed for the tax year beginning July 1, 2014, and each year thereafter at the rate of $8.50 per year on each improved parcel within County Service Area No. 11 of the unincorporated portion of the County; that is, those parcels which are outside city boundaries and are also outside the boundaries of the Alba, Boulder Creek, Opal Cliffs and La Selva Beach recreation and park districts would be subject to the tax.

The proceeds of the special tax, if approved, may be used only for providing, maintaining and preserving County parks and open space and operating recreation and cultural programs within County Service Area No. 11. Accountability measures required by State law would apply to the tax: The County would create a separate account into which the proceeds of the special tax are deposited. An annual report would show the amount of the special taxes which have been collected and expended, and the status of projects to be funded from those proceeds.

The special parcel tax is to be collected in the same manner as County property taxes which are based upon property value.

This tax measure is placed on the ballot by resolution of the County Board of Supervisors.

A “yes” vote is to approve imposition of the special parcel tax.

A “no” vote is against imposition of the special parcel tax. [3]

—Jane M. Scott, Assistant County Counsel, [2]

Fiscal analysis

The following fiscal analysis and tax statement was provided by the office of the county Auditor-Controller for Measure F:[2]

To Levy a Special Tax for County Parks and Recreation Purposes This measure would levy a special tax in the annual amount of $8.50 on all improved parcels within County Service Area Number 11 (CSA 11). The purpose is to maintain Santa Cruz County parks, facilities, beach access and open space; and provide recreation programs within CSA 11. The proposed parcel tax replaces the expiring CSA 11 service charge of $6.58 per residential parcel.

CSA 11 was established in 1971 to provide for park acquisition, development, maintenance, operations and programming within the unincorporated area of the County outside of the four independent recreation and park districts of Alba, Boulder Creek, Opal Cliffs and La Selva Beach. Accountability of Funds

The proposed parcel tax is expected to generate approximately $355,000 per year.

The expiring service charge generated about $298,000 during fiscal year 2012-13.

The proposed tax will be collected on the property tax roll in the same manner and at the same time as other property taxes, and shall be subject to all the laws pertaining to the levy, collection and enforcement of property taxes. The proceeds of this tax will be deposited into a separate fund established by the County. Its use will be strictly limited to the following purposes within CSA 11:

  • Provide, maintain and preserve County parks and open space
  • Operate recreation and cultural programs
  • Maintain parks, facilities, beach access and open space
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Repair roofs and electrical systems
  • Keep facilities open and safe
  • Provide recreation to children, teenagers, families and seniors
  • Acquire and develop parks


—Mary Jo Walker, Santa Cruz County Auditor-Controller, [2]



The following individuals expressed approval of Measure F:[4]

  • Boulder Creek resident Roberta McPherson
  • Jim Lang, a member of the county's Parks and Recreation Commission
  • Betsey Lynberg, an assistant director for public works who oversees county parks

The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure F:[2]

  • Phil Wowak, Sheriff-Coroner
  • Jack O’Neill, founder of O’Neill Sea Odyssey
  • Patricia Santana, owner of Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant
  • Morgan Scarborough, business owner and little league coach
  • Kate Minott, president of Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks[5]

Arguments in favor

Boulder Creek resident Roberta McPherson said, "I can't imagine, for $8.50, a better deal. You can go to any park in the county for free."[4]

Concerning the proposed tax rate, Jim Lang, a member of the county's Parks and Recreation Commission, said, "It would be really important to continue to offer the programs and services that we do. If anything, it should be higher."[4]

Betsey Lynberg, an assistant director for public works who oversaw county parks in 2014, spoke about budget cuts that county parks experienced after the 2008 recession and the necessity for continued funding of park maintenance. She said, "The cuts have had an impact on the parks ability to keep up with repairs and maintenance, and there is a growing list of deferred maintenance."[4]

Officials arguments

The following was submitted as the official argument in favor of Measure F:[2]

Vote Yes on Measure F to keep our parks safe and clean. Measure F will ensure our children, families and seniors have safe, clean places to enjoy Santa Cruz’s natural beauty.

Santa Cruz County parks are a well-loved resource for our community. Budget cuts, though, have meant repairs and maintenance of our parks have not kept up with demand. This threatens the County’s ability to maintain adequate garbage pick up, regularly clean park restrooms and keep open the after-school and summer programs that help kids stay away from crime, gangs and drugs.

Measure F is a replacement for critical existing funding for our parks that will expire this year. We need this funding to maintain clean, safe parks and to preserve activities for children, youth and seniors.

Without this measure, maintenance for leaking roofs and old electrical and septic systems will be further deferred. Trash pickups could become less frequent, leading to parks and beaches becoming dirty and rundown.

Vote Yes on Measure F to:

  • Ensure frequent park restroom cleaning and garbage pickup at all County parks, beaches and open space areas
  • Maintain and repair public facilities, such as beach access, play areas and picnic areas
  • Repair leaky roofs, old electrical and septic systems

Vote Yes on Measure F to provide critical programs that will keep our kids healthy, active and safe. Our kids need after-school and summer activities to keep them on a path for success.

Measure F requires fiscal accountability:

  • Every penny raised by the measure will stay in Santa Cruz County
  • Citizen oversight and annual reports to the community will ensure funds are spent as promised

Please join community members and local leaders—vote Yes on F to keep our parks safe and well-maintained. [3]

—Phil Wowak, Jack O’Neill, Patricia Santana, Morgan Scarborough and Kate Minott, [2]


No official arguments in opposition to Measure F were filed. If you have an argument that you would like to see posted here, please email the Local Ballot Measures Project staff writer.

County park areas

In 2014, Santa Cruz County park service maintained and operated the following parks and recreational areas:[6][7]

  • Aldridge Lane Park - 20 Aldridge Lane, Corralitos
  • Anna Jean Cummings Park - 461 Old San Jose Rd, Soquel
  • Aptos Village Park - 100 Aptos Creek Road, Aptos
  • Ben Lomond Park - 9525 Mill Street, Ben Lomond
  • Brommer Street Park - 1451 30th Avenue, Live Oak
  • Coffee Lane Park - End of Coffee Lane, Live Oak
  • Davenport Landing - Highway 1, Davenport
  • Dolphin/Sumner Beach - Dolphin/Sumner Intersection, Aptos
  • Felton Covered Bridge - Graham Hill Rd at Mount Hermon Rd, Felton
  • Floral Park - 656 38th Avenue, Live Oak
  • Freedom Lake - Freedom Blvd, Freedom
  • Greyhound Rock - Highway 1, Davenport
  • Hestwood Park - 1230 Harper Street, Santa Cruz
  • Hidden Beach - End of Cliff Drive, Aptos
  • Highlands Park - 8500 Highway 9 Ben Lomond, CA
  • Jose Avenue Park - 1435 Jose Ave, Live Oak
  • Mesa Village Park - 790 Green Valley Road, Watsonville
  • Michael Gray Memorial Field - 3650 Graham Hill Road, Felton
  • Moran Lake Park - East Cliff Drive by 26th Avenue, Live Oak
  • Pinto Lake Park - 757 Green Valley Road, Watsonville
  • Polo Grounds - 2255 Huntington Avenue, Aptos
  • Quail Hollow Ranch - 800 Quail Hollow Road, Felton
  • Richard Vessey - Victory Ln./Maplethorpe, Soquel
  • Santa Cruz Gardens - Katherine Lane, Santa Cruz
  • Scott Creek Beach - Highway 1, Davenport
  • Scott Park - 3101 Freedom Blvd, Watsonville
  • Seascape Park - End of Sumner Ave, Aptos
  • Simpkins Family Swim Center - 979 17th Avenue, Santa Cruz
  • Soquel Lions - Main/E. Walnut, Soquel
  • Twin Lakes Park - 520 7th Avenue, Live Oak
  • Valencia Hall - 2555 Valencia Road, Aptos
  • Willowbrook Park - 2950 Willowbrook Lane, Soquel
  • Winkle Farm - 3201 Winkle Ave.
  • Veteran's Memorial Building - 846 Front Street, Santa Cruz

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

This measure was referred to the ballot through a unanimous vote of the five-member Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.[4]

See also

External links

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