Aquatics, performing arts, trails: Truckee officials search for parcel tax support
TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Town and recreation officials are weighing a potential parks and recreation measure to fund, among other suggestions, a new aquatics center, performing arts center and the construction of new trails.At a joint Thursday night meeting, town council members and the Truckee-Donner Recreation andamp; Park District board met with the public to hear and discuss a recent voter polling presentation revealing top recreation priorities of Truckee voters.Charles Heath, a principal consultant with San Francisco firm TBWB Strategies, which conducted the poll, said the top recreation priority was for trails and open space, followed by performing arts, second, and aquatics, third. TBWB Strategies specializes in assisting public agencies that andamp;#8220;will be forced in the near future to place a ballot measure for additional funding before their constituents,andamp;#8221; according to the firm’s website, tbwb.com. Heath said he has managed nearly 100 successful ballot measures across the country.Recreation and park district Secretary Peter Werbel said while he is unsure the exact amount the district had paid the consulting agency thus far, the firm is on a $5,500-per month contract, with an estimated total of $44,000. However, he said the contract with TBWB could be stopped at any time after a 10-day notice.While nothing was finalized Thursday, Heath said the potential ballot measure could help complete the town’s Legacy Trail near Glenshire and build aquatics and performing arts centers.Werbel said the measure is worth considering because it could positively impact the local economy, and the trickle down effect would mean more jobs.andamp;#8220;I think the amount of money that it could generate is unbelievable,andamp;#8221; Werbel said.However, others in the audience were concerned about the sustainability of newly created buildings and trails and how other potentially competing measures andamp;#8212; such as the possible renewal of Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s Measure A, a parcel tax funding school programs and supplies andamp;#8212; would affect the success of the potential measure.Heath said maintenance and other costs, as well as possible competing measures, must be investigated; however, the agency’s poll indicated voter receptiveness.Janet Brady, TDPRD director, said she felt very strongly the measure should be explored because of the youth and growth of the community.andamp;#8220;It’s not just about building more buildings,andamp;#8221; Brady said.She explained the new facilities and trails could serve many andamp;#8220;out-of-the-boxandamp;#8221; functions such a movie theater at a performing arts center, water therapy for handicapped persons at the aquatics center and other non-traditional uses.The type of election andamp;#8212; mail-in, regular or special andamp;#8212; constitutes another decision to be made by the two boards, should they agree to partner on a measure.Outlining a potential timeline, Heath said an all-mail ballot election could happen as early as April 27, 2011, for voting by Aug. 30, 2011.He recommended the mail ballot because of high voter participation estimated to be at about 40 percent; based on that percentage, 66.7 percent andamp;#8212; or 2,387 votes andamp;#8212; would be needed to approve the measure.Yet, there is no rush or urgency to make decisions quickly, he said.andamp;#8220;There are many points along the way where we can pull the plug on this if needed,andamp;#8221; said Heath. andamp;#8220;At the earliest it would go to the ballot next summer. No final decisions have to be made until next April.andamp;#8221;Steve Randall, general manager at TDRPD, said those interested in being part of a coalition to iron out details and develop the possible measure should contact him. The Tahoe-Donner Parks and Recreation District can be reached at (530) 582-7720.
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