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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 1:45 pm | Fair 66º


Isla Vistans Approve Recreation & Parks Tax for Capital Projects, Programming in Special Election

Parcel levy will be the same amount as an expiring special tax the district has used to pay off a bond

Voters in Isla Vista overwhelmingly approved a parcel tax that will provide the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District $256,000 a year for capital projects and recreational programming. Click to view larger
Voters in Isla Vista overwhelmingly approved a parcel tax that will provide the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District $256,000 a year for capital projects and recreational programming. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

Isla Vista residents on Tuesday green-lighted a measure that will provide the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District $256,000 a year for capital projects and recreational programming.

As of Tuesday night, 80 percent of voters had said yes, far exceeding the two-thirds majority required to pass the special parcel tax, called Measure O.

With all 10 precincts reporting, 438 mail-in ballots had voted in favor of the measure, while only 112 voted against it — a mere 5-percent turnout for the only item on the ballot.

The tax levies the same rates property owners have been paying toward a bond that was used to purchase new parkland: $0.7185 per square foot for non-residential units and $28.75 per bedroom on a parcel for residential units.

However, property owners will not see a change in how much tax they’re paying because the election coincides with the district’s completing it bond repayment.

According to IVRPD General Manager Rodney Gould, parcels built after the start of the bond haven’t put anything toward the bond’s repayment, meaning they’re the only ones who will feel the financial difference starting Nov. 1, when the tax goes into effect.

The revenue will be put into a separate fund exclusively for capital projects, deferred maintenance, infrastructure and new cultural and recreation programming.

Gould has said that the district typically has little, if any, money at the end of the year for capital projects, maintenance or new recreation programs.

"I'm thrilled with the results. It's both gratifying and humbling to know the community appreciates the parks and has faith in the district's stewardship," he told Noozhawk in an email. "We're looking forward to working with the community to prioritize the long list of potential uses."

The district board has its eyes on a slew of possible projects that it will spend the money on, including new park lighting, tables and benches, barbecue areas, new bathrooms, signage and additional employees for programs.

Topping its to-do list is a recycled-water project, and many residents have expressed desire for a fenced-in dog park and a skate park.

The IVRPD board also wants to chip away at a backlog of deferred maintenance, including sprucing up parks, fumigating and repairing some of its buildings, putting up fences and restoring pathways.

Currently, capital projects are largely accomplished through partnerships with student and community organizations.

"Isla Vista got big love tonight!" board chair Pegeen Soutar wrote on Facebook. "Measure O passed with 79%. Thank you so much to everyone who appreciates our parks and open spaces. Many wonderful things will happen in our community because this support."

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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