San Rafael, CA – Based on recent decision by state authorities, the County of Marin will hold off on placing a parks-related tax measure on a ballot later this summer and instead pursue a renewed measure in June 2022.
The Marin County Board of Supervisors convened a special meeting July 6 to discuss the matter and took no action because of ballot consolidation guidance issued July 2 by California Secretary of State’s Office. Except for special circumstances, no local elections can be added to the September 14, 2021, special recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom, preventing a possible extension of the local Parks Measure A from being placed on that Marin County ballot.
Parks Measure A expires in March 2022. The County was looking to avoid creating its own special election, which is cost-prohibitive. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented Parks from pursuing a Measure A extension last year and earlier this year.
Instead, the County will look to return to the voters during the next regularly scheduled statewide election expected to take place in June 2022. The Board will have to reconvene early next year to hold a merit hearing and potentially adopt a resolution to submit the ordinance to Marin voters.
The 2012 quarter-cent sales tax measure known as Marin County Parks Measure A has brought some huge benefits to Marin residents such as ongoing wildfire fuel reduction work, upgraded roads and trails, well maintained parks, reduced entrance fees, and much more.
“When we initiated this process last month, there was uncertainty about whether we could add the tax measure item to recall ballot,” said Marin County Parks Director Max Korten. “The state’s decision unfortunately means that we will not be able to do it, but we are pleased that there is support for the measure among our residents whenever it appears on the ballot.”
Recent research shows that residents appreciate the work Measure A has funded since 2012, identifying vegetation management, protection of natural lands, and taking care of parks and preserves as their top priorities. The research indicated strong public support for an extension of Measure A in 2021 or 2022, with 82.8% of respondents in favor. The research also showed that support for Marin County Parks increased during the pandemic.
The existing Measure A is officially known as the Marin Parks, Open Space, and Farmland Preservation Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance of 2012. County voters overwhelmingly approved the measure in November 2012, resulting in ongoing funding in four broad categories. The majority of Measure A funds – 52% – have been used to improve wildfire safety, restore natural resources, maintain County parks and open space preserves, restore and improve public access, and protect natural lands. Another 20% of funds has saved family farms and ranches through collaborative grants with local nonprofits. A total of 19 municipalities and special districts receive 15% of ongoing funding to take care of local parks, and 13% of Measure A supports conservation including the protection of properties such as Sky Ranch, Bucks Landing, Bowman Canyon, and Corte Madera Baylands.