POLL FINDS PARKS TAX SUPPORT CITY PONDERS PROSPECT.
PALMDALE - With a wish list of more than $40 million, Palmdale officials are considering asking residents whether they would be willing to pay a yearly tax to speed up the development of parks and recreation amenities.
In a telephone survey of 400 people conducted for the city, a majority of Palmdale residents indicated they would support a tax for parks and recreation. The survey indicated that the most the city could expect to ask residents to support was between $20 to $30 a year per parcel.
``Our wish list is so great and the benefit is so great we're looking at some way to accelerate the development of facilities,'' said Mayor Jim Ledford. ``We have more kids than the facilities can accommodate. I think our residents realize that.''
The city will probably present a priority list of construction projects and a tax to fund for the voters sometime in 2001, Ledford said.
``We're doing an analysis to see if there is support for some type of participation by the residents,'' Ledford said. ``What are we as a community? Families. Lots and lots of families. What touches them more than parks and rec? It also touches property values.''
In the survey, 40.2 percent of the residents said they would definitely support a tax of $20 while an additional 19.5 percent indicated they would probably support such a tax. Those saying they would definitely vote against such a tax, or that would probably vote against it, totaled 31.3 percent. The rest of the residents were undecided.
At a rate of $30 per year, 28.4 percent said they would definitely support the tax while 22.8 percent said they would probably support the tax. Opposition totaled 35.5 percent. The rest were undecided.
At $35 per year, those opposed to such a tax or who are undecided totaled 52.9 percent compared with 47.1 percent who indicated support.
The city's 10-year capital improvement plan, a ``wish list'' for major projects, has $41.16 million in parks and recreation projects. The priority list for the tax would be developed out of the projects in the 10-year plan.
The most expensive project on the 10-year capital improvement plan for parks and recreation is the creation of a 60-acre recreation and entertainment complex. The concept is essentially an expansion of Marie Kerr Park at Avenue P and 30th Street West to include 12 softball fields and a 10,000-seat amphitheater.
The amphitheater is a project that rated high in the telephone survey and in previous, informal surveys.
Such a facility could house the city's summer ``Starlight Concert Series,'' which has drawn as many as 10,000 people. The amphitheater could also be used for student performances, high school graduations and fund- raisers, said John Lasagna, Palmdale's director of parks and recreation.
Another project drawing interest is an indoor aquatic park, with water slides, picnic areas and a ``lazy river'' floating stream. In the 10-year plan, the aquatics center is listed at $3.5 million and is slated to be part of the 5,200-home City Ranch development on Palmdale's west side.
Another project being looked at is to provide enclosures for the two outdoor pools at McAdam and Courson parks. The concept being looked at involves bringing in portable ``bubble'' enclosures to cover the pools and deck areas.
``The survey and others we've done have identified projects residents want us to provide for them,'' Lasagna said. ``It's our task to come up with a plan to fund those facilities.''