$30,000 OK’d for election on south county park fee | TheUnion.com

$30,000 OK’d for election on south county park fee

Will property owners in southern Nevada County fork over $20 a year to pay for parks?

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to spend $30,000 to fund an election to answer that question.

Probably this fall, the Bear River Recreation and Park District will use the $30,000 to mail ballots to property owners to see if they will support a $20 parcel fee for parks.

“My understanding of it is, it’s a mail-in ballot and it just goes to the property owners who are the people who are going to pay (the parcel fee),” said Bill Litchfield, a member of the park district board.

If the parcel fee is approved, it would generate about $160,000 annually, Litchfield said.

The park district would repay the $30,000 to the county so it could be used to fund a parcel-fee election in other park districts around the county, he said.

“We’re kind of the guinea pig,” to see if county residents will support a parcel fee for parks, he said.

Currently, the Bear River district gets about $12,000 annually in tax money, its entire budget for operation and maintenance.

The park district has other funding sources, but they’re for capital purchases. For example, the park district used state grant money and fees charged to developers to fund the $320,000 purchase in 2000 of a 32-acre ranch on East Lime Kiln Road near Karen Way.

Called Kimler Park, the property was acquired to develop baseball, football and soccer fields.

But Kimler Park has never been developed because the park district doesn’t have funds for operations and maintenance. If the parcel fee passes, it will allow Kimler Park to go forward, Litchfield said.

The supervisors voted 5-0 to spend the $30,000 on the park district election. The county’s general fund is the source of the money.

“We’re … really just grateful and surprised that we got the money,” Litchfield said.

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