Marin County Parks and Open Space Department

Measure A: Protect Marin Parks, Open Space and Farmland

Overview

The one-quarter cent retail transactions and use tax passed as Measure A in November 2012 to care for Marin’s existing parks and open spaces, support regional community parks projects and programs, and further farmland preservation is well on its way to creating positive change throughout Marin County. Measure A (Ordinance No. 3586) includes an expenditure plan (pages 7-10 of Ordinance No. 3586, Exhibit A) that guides the use of these funds, as follows:

  • 65% will be used by Marin County Parks to restore natural resources, maintain county parks and open space preserves, restore and improve public access, and protect natural lands.
  • 20% will be dedicated to saving family farms and ranches through the purchase of agricultural conservation easements in voluntary transactions with landowners.
  • 15% will be used by cities, towns, and applicable special districts to enhance and manage their parks, nature preserves, recreation programs, and vegetation to reduce wildfire risk.

Recent Accomplishments

Following is some of the work that has been accomplished with Measure A funds since July 2013.

Audit Engagement:

  • The first period for firms to submit statements of qualifications for provision of an independent audit of Measure A expenditures for Fiscal Year 2013-14, and to provide related services, closed on April 17, 2014. Staff will review proposals and work toward selection of a qualified firm. The selected firm will provide an independent opinion of the compliance of use of Measure A revenues with Marin County Ordinance 3586 and its related Expenditure Plan, for review by the Measure A Community Oversight Committee.

Measure A Committee Oversight Committee:

  • Marin County Parks extends a warm welcome to the seven appointees to the committee that will oversee Measure A expenditures. All applicants were well qualified and we are excited to work with such an experienced and talented group! Each year committee members will review expenditures to ensure they conform to the Measure A Expenditure Plan, oversee an annual audit, and work with staff to prepare an annual report. The first meeting of this committee will be held on Thursday, May 29, 2014 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Planning Chambers (Room 328). The agenda will be published online soon. 

Breathe/Respira Community Grant Program:

  • The Measure A-funded Breathe/Respira Community Grant Program is here! The period to apply for this current grant cycle has closed. An ad hoc committee of staff and members of the Parks and Open Space Commission have met to recommend successful applicants. The Parks and Open Space Commission will vote to approve grant recommendations during their regular meeting on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in the Civic Center Planning Chambers (Room 328). This program provides grants to support projects, programs, and initiatives of varying scope and size that increase the capacity of community organizations to partner with Marin County Parks to engage and serve communities with limited access to our parks, preserves, and programs. Marin County Parks is focused on building relationships with and serving all of Marin’s communities in an equitable manner. Through this grant program, we are excited to dramatically enhance our community partnerships and the opportunities Marin communities have to enjoy our parks, preserves, and programs.

Marin County Park and Open Space Program:

  • New life was breathed into McInnis Park facilities with roof repairs and new picnic tables, barbeques, garbage cans, and playground fiber.
  • We have repaved sections of the pathways at McNears and Paradise Parks, including the removal of many trip hazards.
  • A sign plan, coordinating communication across facilities managed by Marin County Parks and the Open Space District, is underway and will result in improved visitor experience.
  • Plan drawings for improvements and stream crossings along the Roy’s Redwoods loop trail were submitted for permits.
  • We have increased our capacity for open space maintenance work that includes restoring areas damaged by the construction of unauthorized trails, clearing creeks and drains behind homes that border the preserves in preparation for winter rains, mowing and other vegetation management work at hundreds of preserve entries in preparation for fire season, and reducing fire fuel loads in fuel breaks in the King Mountain, Blithedale Summit, Baltimore Canyon, and Camino Alto preserves, through contract labor provided by the Conservation Corps North Bay.
  • Ranger presence in our preserves has increased substantially with the addition of five new full-time rangers, leading to improved visitor safety, more visitor assistance and education, and increased compliance with open space regulations.
  • We are building our staff capacity to plan and implement natural resource management projects by hiring biologists, ecologists, and planners.
  • Visitor safety in our parks has been enhanced by pruning of old and diseased tree limbs at Paradise Beach Park, Miller Boat Launch and other locations, and by repairing sidewalks and other paving at McNears Beach and Paradise Beach parks.
  • Construction drawings to replace a failed seawall at Paradise Beach Park are underway. 
  • We’ve improved amenities for visitors to McNears Beach Park by installing a new furnace at the snack bar, and purchasing a new pool vacuum.
  • With the purchase of new tools for our volunteers, there is no longer a shortage. 
  • We’ve replaced the old and dilapidated maintenance carts used by our park rangers and landscape services workers, with new models that are more efficient and require less maintenance.
  • We’ve improved the cleanliness of our open space entrances by contracting with a dog waste pick-up service, and are in the process of installing 15 additional dog waste stations at trailheads where visitor volume is high. 
  • Master planning taking a fresh look at facilities in Stafford Lake, McNears Beach, and Paradise Beach parks will begin in a couple months. Staff is planning widespread community engagement during development of these master plans.
Picnic Tables
Image of newly repaved pathway at McNears Beach Park
Roof Repair

Farmland Preservation Program:

  • The matching grant program to support farmland preservation was approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors April 22, 2014. The grant application form is now available, and includes information about the program and application process. The Marin County Agricultural Land Conservation Program, the County's program developed to promote, support, and engage in measures to permanently protect agricultural measures in Marin, provides additional information including the definition of a qualified applicant for matching grant funding. The first two applications for matching grant funding will be considered by the Marin County Board of Supervisors at their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 20, 2014

City, Town, and Special District Program:

  • Marin’s 19 cities, towns and applicable special districts received their first disbursement of $982,288.76 in Measure A funds in the beginning of 2014. Participants will receive two disbursements per year for the next eight years and are planning to invest in the care and upkeep of parks and preserves they manage all over the county. With money from this first disbursement, our partners are busy implementing a range of projects that include turf replacement, basketball and tennis court repairs, safety and accessibility improvements, vegetation management in open spaces, swimming pool improvements, and community center restoration among others.

Visit the Marin County Parks Overview of Proposed Budgets for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Presentation for information on the Measure A budget (begins slide number 10).

Measure A will also fund large park and open space restoration projects. Due to the size of these projects, they will be planned and implemented over multiple years, and much of the on-the-ground features and amenities will not be seen until 2015 or later due to the time required for plan development and, if necessary, environmental review and permitting.

Community Engagement and Transparency

Throughout the year, community members will have the opportunity to attend public meetings of the Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission, the Measure A Community Oversight Committee, and the Marin County Board of Supervisors to learn more about how Measure A funds are being budgeted and spent. After the close of each fiscal year, the Community Oversight Committee will review expenditures to determine whether they complied with the Measure A ordinance, oversee an independent audit, and work with staff to prepare an annual report summarizing how Measure A funds were spent. The annual report will include a roadmap of completed projects so you can give yourself a tour of all the work that’s been performed.

ALL opportunities to participate in Measure A discussions will be advertised through our website, events calendar, and other media, including Facebook, Twitter, our quarterly newsletter, and the local press. When you attend any of our events, ask one of our staff members about the latest on Measure A projects and programs! We will also be posting signs at locations throughout the county where projects and improvements have been funded by Measure A. Look for the official Measure A seal!


Measure A logo: Caring for What We Have 2012 - 2021

Finally, we want you to know we are developing more complete content for our website to provide you extensive information about how Measure A funds are bringing widespread improvements to Marin County’s parks and preserves. Until then, check back here for regular updates and feel free to contact External Affairs Coordinator Kevin Wright at KWright@marincounty.org or (415) 473-2129 with questions.