Mad River Union
ARCATA – Unlike Measure F, the fire tax, Arcata’s Measure A parks and open space property tax wasn’t necessary for the immediate preservation of life and property. And yet it passed by an even greater margin.
The measure, which will improve existing parkland holdings and help acquire new ones, garnered 6,104 votes, or 79.79 – far more than the two-thirds required for passage. Just 1,546 voters, or 20.21 percent, opposed the new property tax.
Beginning July 1, 2021, the City of Arcata will levy an annual special tax of $37 per parcel to provide about $175,000 of additional funds each year to protect, preserve, maintain and expand Arcata’s parks, trails and natural open space areas. The additional dedicated funds will help leverage state and federal grants, which generally require some demonstrated local interest and participation in funding.
Backers had pitched the measure as a timely investment in Arcata’s environment, which is already seeing preliminary pressure for development by the expected influx of individuals seeking relief from climate change and coronavirus conditions elsewhere.
“We would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who donated time, money and effort toward the successful passage of Measure A,” said co-organizer Zoie Andre, “And thank you to Arcata voters.”
Near-term improvements, she said, could include trail and other upgrades to Redwood Park, the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary and the Annie & Mary Trail.
Over time, Measure A will enable purchase of conservation easements through privately held lands, plus purchase of forested hillsides and habitat areas for preservation. Andre said the city will work with property owners to protect ag lands.
A bullet list of potential improvements may be found at cityofarcata.org/912/Measure-A.