Planning for how to spend the funds generated by Measure A, the largest urban parks measure ever passed, is getting underway. Measure A won 73% voter approval on last fall’s ballot and will provide funds for parks and open space county-wide. Officially titled The Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks, Open Space, Beaches, Rivers and Water Conservation Measure, it will replace the funds generated by Proposition A, which was approved in 1992 and 1996 and is set to expire next year.
The current Measure A was placed on the ballot by County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Shelia Kuehl, and supported by a broad coalition of dozens of organizations including the LA Parks Foundation and the Trust for Public Land. The Buzz reported on a local fundraiser last fall, which organizers say was key to the passage of the measure.
Most of the $94 million dollars per year generated by Measure A will be distributed to cities, with the assurance that the funds will be available in perpetuity, another unique feature of the measure, which required two-thirds approval on the ballot. It was also one of the reasons some people argued against the measure. Funds form the measure are generated by an annual parcel tax of 1.5 cents per square foot of development. The estimated tax for the owner of a 1,500 square foot home will be $22.50 per year, and it will be included on the annual property tax bill.
There is a steering committee of seventy-five members representing all cities in the county, along with non-governmental organizations (NGO) working on parks and open space, according to Judith Kieffer, Executive Director of the LA Parks Foundation.
“We are working to formulate grant guidelines,” said Kieffer. “The process is getting underway and the first funds should be available for application or distribution by July 2018, followed by another round in January 2019.”
The expenditure plan for Measure A funds anticipates a decrease over time in funding for capital improvements and new parks, and an increase in funding for maintenance and operations of parks, explained Kieffer. She added that this will ensure that funds are available to maintain the parks that are added in response to the county-wide parks assessments that were conducted.