Sales tax proposed for environment: Placer voters to decide on Measures V and W |

Sales tax proposed for environment: Placer voters to decide on Measures V and W

When Placer County residents step into the voting booth this November they will make a decision on, among other things, a new sales tax designed to protect the area’s environment.

During the Oct. 12 meeting of the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Committee, the county’s principal planner presented information on the proposed measures V and W.

Measure W would raise Placer’s sales tax by a quarter-cent, and Measure V is an advisory vote that would recommend the tax dollars be spent on the Placer Legacy Open Space and Agricultural Conservation Program.

“We’re a wonderfully diverse county, we want to protect that diversity for the future,” said Loren Clark, principal planner for the Placer County Planning Department.

During his presentation, Clark explained that the money raised from the new tax would go to purchase undeveloped land from “willing sellers,” in order to protect the land from future development. Clark did say that, depending on environmental circumstances, some of the purchased land would still be open for farming purposes.

Placer County District 5 Supervisor Rex Bloomfield was also present at the meeting. Bloomfield rallied in support of the measures, saying the county needed to take a step to protect its natural lands.

“Placer is being hit hard by a population explosion,” Bloomfield said. “We’re going to turn into San Jose – we’re going to look like Orange County in the matter of a decade.”

The county supervisor also stressed that the new tax would be gentle on residents’ wallets.

“If you were to buy a $100 tent, you would spend 25 cents on open space in Placer County,” Bloomfield said.

If the measures are passed – requiring only a simple majority vote – the tax money will be placed into the county’s general fund and will not necessarily be spent in the area in which it was generated. Some members of the Advisory Committee expressed concern that the money would be more often funneled to the west side of the county, and that an additional government-sponsored land-buying program would muddy waters already inhabited by the like-minded California Tahoe Conservancy.

“I see it, potentially, as a blanket regulation that has to be dealt with every step of the way,” said board member Terry Dyer.

For more information on the measures, go to gov/planning/legacy/legacy.htm on the Internet.

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