February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 26

Member to Member
You Get What You Pay For
By Sandra J. Gonzalez

S

ix years ago, the City of Pico Rivera, California, was similar to many
other Los Angeles suburbs - a working-class population, high Hispanic demographic and ever-growing demands from the community.
The parks and facilities were tired and worn, the athletic fields were
overused and there was no funding to implement major capital improvements.
With slightly more than 100 acres contained within its nine local parks, hundreds of people used Pico Rivera's open public spaces every day. Without
some sort of structural increase to its revenue, the city would have to shut
down recreational programs, close its community pool facility and possibly
lay off employees.

24	 Parks & Recreation

| F E B R UA R Y 2 0 1 5 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

A grassroots group of residents
took up the cause, which resulted in
the proposal of a local sales tax ballot
measure. Measure P, as it was called,
would raise the sales tax in the city
from 8.25 percent to 9.25 percent to
fund the preservation of public safety and community programs, as well
as prevent significant cuts to essential
services. The revenue would support
general city services, including hiring
additional police, maintaining anti-gang and graffiti efforts, facilitating
youth and after-school parks and recreation services, expanding libraries
and parks, fixing city streets and other essential neighborhood improvements. The revenue generated by the
additional sales tax would enable the
city to issue and sell Pico Rivera's Vital City Services Bond, the proceeds
of which would provide approximately $6 million per year to implement a
Parks Master Plan and renovate several of the existing older parks.
But the unintended consequence
of a 1-percent increase in statewide
sales tax saw this blue-collar city of
63,000 people paying the highest rate
in the state, and one of the steepest
in the nation. In all, Pico Rivera sales
taxes will have climbed from 8.25
percent to 10.75 percent over a threemonth period.
At first glance, the odds of such
a bill passing might seem ridiculous. Sales tax makes everything
we buy just a little more expensive.
Why would hard-working families
choose to pay even more money
each time they went shopping? Furthermore, would the approval of an



February 2015 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of February 2015 - Parks & Recreation

February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2010
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