The East Bay Regional Park District, which serves Alameda and Contra Costa counties, plans to ask voters to approve $500 million of general obligation bonds in November.
The district’s board has until June to decide the exact details of the referendum, but it has already begun community meetings to explain the need for the request. A poll showed that 72% of voters would support the measure, which requires a two-thirds approval.
The bonds would pay for at least 66 parkland purchases. The district, which is on the east side of San Francisco Bay, hopes to spend $375 million on regional park projects, including $281 million to buy land and $91 million for construction. It also plans to allocate $125 million to cities and local park districts within its boundaries.
The ballot measure would extend a property tax levy passed in 1988, which funded $225 million of construction and land purchases. The new measure would keep a property tax of $10 per $100,000 of assessed value in place for another 30 years.
Standard & Poor’s last week upgraded the park district’s GOs to AAA from AA-plus.
“The raised ratings are based on the district’s continuous strong financial performance with unreserved fund balances above 50% of expenditures for the past several years,” said analyst Lisa Schroeer.
“Its finances are supported by the growth and stability of its tax base in Alameda and Contra Costa counties,” she said. The district includes the cities of Oakland and Berkeley, as well as fast-growing suburbs like Walnut Creek and Concord.
Moody’s Investors Service rates the district’s GOs Aa1.