POLL TO SHOW IF CITY PARKS TAX FAVORED PUBLIC OPEN SPACE SOUGHT.
SANTA CLARITA - The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to hire a consultant to poll city residents on whether they would support a special tax to fund development of new parks and acquisition of open space.
Fiscal consultant John O'Sullivan recommended a bond issue secured by a special tax because it would give the council flexibility in the spending and collection of funds. But levying the tax would require broad community support, he said.
The poll is estimated to cost $20,000, said O'Sullivan, who works for the firm Kelling, Northcross and Nobriga.
For a city of its size and population, Santa Clarita has a deficit of 550 acres in municipal parks and open space, Parks Director Rick Gould said. Over the past couple of years, the city Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission has been trying to increase parkland and related amenities within city limits, he said.
Councilman Frank Ferry strongly favored initiating the poll.
``I am of the opinion we have property out there not developed,'' he said. ``At the minimum, the council should see what the poll said.''
The commission in May unanimously endorsed issuing bonds that would be repaid with a yet-to-be-determined special tax on property to fund the purchase, development and operation of park facilities throughout Santa Clarita.
In city surveys, respondents considered the dwindling amount of pristine land as a major threat to the quality of life in the Santa Clarita Valley.
``Our existing parks are getting crowded,'' said Commission Chairwoman Karin Nelson. ``With our population growing, as soon as we open a new park, it becomes well-utilized.''
Susan Abram, (661) 257-5257