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Park measure defeated

Maintenance tax voted down despite city council’s support
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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During Tuesday's primary election last week Measure H was not the only issue Rocklin voters had to decide. Measure J was also on the ballot asking residents to increase their property taxes to maintain Rocklin parks. But unlike Measure H, it was defeated. Mayor Brett Storey said Measure J would have been a small increase from what residents already pay to preserve the parks. Currently, property owners pay $30 a year toward the maintenance of parks, but with Measure J a $15 increase was proposed with seniors eligible to pay only $10, according to Councilman Peter Hill. Hill said this was the first time in 10 years that this tax has been voted to increase. But despite Measure J's support by city council members, it was not approved by voters. We were very disappointed with the outcome, said City Manager Carlos Urrutia. Because Measure J was defeated, the city council will review all the numbers at the next budget hearing to discuss how to keep parks maintained with the money they have, Hill said. Urrutia said the current tax expires July 2009 and will be imposed until then. Either we get it reinstated or we figure out how to do without it, he said. Mark Klang, a Rocklin resident who was against Measure J, said the city council should have the money to maintain the parks without an additional tax. The city council should be able to pay for the park maintenance, we're taxed enough, he said. Klang believes the parks are well-maintained and the additional fee was not necessary. The city has done a good job maintaining our parks, Klang said. But Klang said that if the city has enough money to improve the appearance of Rocklin's streets, they should have enough money to maintain the parks. Resident Bill Halldin disagrees. I think Rocklin really has an outstanding network of both neighborhood and community parks, he said. Halldin found the fee to be a modest increase and was pleased to see more than 50 percent of residents in favor of the measure. Unfortunately, the measure needed a 2/3 majority of the vote in order to pass. It's important that we continue to have parks that are well-maintained, Halldin said. Without the funds, I'm sure the city will do the best they can. What does concern Halldin are the improvements to fields and the quality of Rocklin's parks. New fields are like night and day, he said. Even though the measure was not passed, Halldin is hopeful it will make it back on a future ballot.