Bolinas parcel tax on ballot again

10/24/2013

Bolinas residents are being asked to vote on a parcel tax for the maintenance and operation of Mesa Park, after a similar measure failed to garner enough votes last year. The park, the older and larger of the town’s two parks, sits adjacent to the Bolinas Firehouse and Clinic. Its facilities include a soccer field, baseball diamond, basketball court, skate park and children’s area, and supporters say it has been a forum for community needs, like the free food program on Sundays for low-income residents, and a venue for community and family gatherings. “These are services which benefit the quality of life in a community, even if not everyone uses them,” said Jack Siedman, the president of the Bolinas Community Public Utility District and a former Mesa Park board member. The measure will levy a $49 special tax annually for the next four years for each improved parcel, a $4 increase over the previous tax that expired in June 2012. Revenue from the tax—about $31,000—would pay for the maintenance of portable restrooms, water for drinking and irrigation, salary for the maintenance staff, fuel for the mower, seed for the fields, liability insurance and other needs. Seniors may file an exemption if their primary residence is located on the parcel. Backers say the increase is necessary due to rising costs of supplies and replacement of some equipment. Last year, a campaign to renew the tax was narrowly rejected in a vote of 539-275, less than half a percentage point from the requisite two-thirds approval. “In the past, whenever a local parcel tax has failed, it is only by a few votes, and usually because some voters who supported the taxing entity didn’t bother to vote because they assumed it would pass anyway,” Mr. Siedman said. “We’ve learned that in small communities, every vote counts.”