While both measures continue to move through the legislative process, Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) have acknowledged a need to ultimately work together to combine measures into one bill. These measures are AB 18 (E. Garcia) and SB 5 (de León)
(E. Garcia), which the League supports, authorizes $3.105 billion in General Obligation bonds to finance parks, water, climate adaptation, coastal protection and outdoor access programs. Among the allocates for which cities are eligible, this measure includes $425 million in direct funding for park rehabilitation and improvement grants to cities and counties to be distributed on a per capita basis. Cities are slated to receive 60 percent of the $425 million, with each city receiving a minimum of $200,000.
(de León) proposes $3 billion in General Obligation bonds to be directed to parks ($1.5 billion), clean water projects ($1 billion), and flood protection ($500 million). Of the parks funding allocation, local governments would receive $15 million for local park rehabilitation and improvement grants, which would be distributed on a per capita basis. An additional $15 million would be reserved for grants for cities and parks districts in urbanized counties with populations of fewer than 200,000. The $1.5 billion slated for clean water projects would be designated improving drinking water quality, safe and reliable drinking water, improving regional water self-reliance security, water recycling and advanced treatment technology projects, and preventing or cleaning up contaminated groundwater. Flood protection measures would receive the remaining $500 million for investments to protect persons and property, levee repairs and restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and other flash-flood related protections including stormwater and mudslides.
The last true park bond, Proposition 40, passed 15 years ago. Since then parks have suffered through the Great Recession as cities struggled to shore up shrinking budgets. Many parks departments have not recovered and are still weighed down by deferred maintenance.
The League urges the authors to maintain the $425 million per capita allocation to cities and counties that is currently found in AB 18. As all cities would benefit from this level of funding, cities that support parks funding are encouraged to reach out to these legislators. Park bond funding is critical for struggling city parks.
A sample AB 18 support letter can be found at www.cacities.org/billsearch
by plugging AB 18 into the search function.