Politics

Voters could see parcel tax on November ballot to pay for LA County parks

A new report found that Los Angeles County has about 3,000 parks. About 15 percent of county park amenities were rated in poor condition.
A new report found that Los Angeles County has about 3,000 parks. About 15 percent of county park amenities were rated in poor condition.
Jed Kim

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A ballot measure that would add a parcel tax in Los Angeles County to help pay for parks came a step closer to coming before voters Tuesday.

The LA County Board of Supervisors ordered a final draft of the measure, and polling, to see whether it can succeed. 

During Tuesday's meeting, the supervisors reviewed a report they'd ordered that found that $21.5 billion is needed to repair the county’s existing parks and add news ones. The report, which was characterized as the first inventory of its kind on park needs, found that the county has about 1,000 baseball fields, 518 senior centers, 51 dog parks and 218 swimming pools among its assets.

About 15 percent of the county's park amenities were rated in poor condition and 29 percent of park infrastructure fell into that category.

Speakers argued that more funding for parks will help improve everything from obesity rates to violence levels. 

"The results are undeniably compelling," said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The county has until the first week of August to finalize a measure that would come before voters this November. At issue now are the details, like whether to try for a 3 cent per square-foot increase or aim higher and ask for 5 cents. 

Thomas said since a parks measure narrowly failed back in 2014, they need to ensure this one can pass:

"We knew after the failure of Prop P that we needed to do more bottoms up, transparent and inclusive work to identify the recreational needs throughout the county," he said. 

The current draft of the measure says the tax will last for 35 years.

A round of public meetings on the plan will be scheduled throughout the county. Details will be available online