Voters are about to decide if the sales tax in Fresno should go up to support taking care of parks. Measure P would generate $37.5 million dollars a year through 2049. A “Yes on P” event was held on Friday at Storyland & Playland.
Besides cleaning up the parks in the City, supporters of Measure P said the funds will also go towards adding community service officers and park rangers to patrol the parks. But opponents of the measure say the City needs to focus on public safety.
Measure P had a strong show of support on Friday, backed by not only one, but two former mayors of Fresno – Ashley Swearengin and Alan Autry.
“Measure P, yes on parks! Fresno for parks!” exclaimed Swearengin.
Also on hand was David McDonald, the former CEO of Pelco.
He said, “It’s gonna be beyond amazing to see all 1,100 acres of our parks looking like they should and being safe.”
McDonald hopes his funding will help the campaign.
“It’s my pleasure to donate $400,000 dollars to the Measure P campaign,” McDonald announced.
How much will Measure P cost tax payers if approved? It would add 3/8’s of a percent sales tax for 30 years – that’s an average of $39 per household each year, or about $3.25 each month.
The Fresno Chamber of Commerce does not support Measure P.
Fresno Chamber president/CEO Nathan Ahle commented, “Is this the right way to go about it? Is it appropriate to address the parks without either at the same time or first addressing the public safety needs that the entire community faces? And we don’t think it is.”
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer doesn’t support Measure P either, and calls the legislation “flawed”.
“We would have preferred a compromised measure that addressed both public safety needs and the parks and arts needs, and we felt that was the best option for Fresno at this point,” ended Ahle.
Voters will ultimately be the ones to decide if the parks are worth the tax hike.
If Measure P gets passed, a citizen oversight committee will be created to ensure the revenue can only be spent on local parks, and cannot be taken by the state or federal government.