You might think it's the new sales tax which would be controversial. But all five county supervisors are receptive to the plan. And that is probably because of what such a small tax would accomplish. An additional 1/10 of one percent sales tax would provide seventeen million dollars in revenue, enough to fully fund area parks.
More controversial is a plan backed by a coalition of conservation groups, which would replace the county parks department with an independent parks district. The idea is modeled on the success of the East Bay Regional Parks.
Justin Drake was one of about two dozen people who testified in support of the plan. Drake says the parks need to be freed up from all the pressures the supervisors face.
DRAKE: "I do support an independent regional district. It's been shown that the Sacramento county supervisors, it's not their priority to fund parks. They have other priorities that are more pressing."
Only one person at the hearing testified against both the tax and and independent tax district. Former republican congressman Doug Ose recently led a successful effort to privatize the Historic Gibson Ranch. He says the county should be looking for similar opportunities with all the parks, including the American River Parkway.
OSE: "The appetite for things like the American River Parkway need to be reevaluated in terms of being able afford what you own. The fact of the matter is inventing a new layer of government and increasing taxes is not the answer."
The supervisors meet again on august ninth to take up the parks issue. They are expected to formally approve the tax idea. But don't expect to be paying that tax anytime soon. The state legislature has to approve the plan before it would go to county voters in the fall of 2012.