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Board of Supervisors to Tackle Parks Funding

San Mateo County parks need $12.1 million in capital improvements over the next five years in addition to typical annual expenditures.

The San Mateo County Park System is a well-used jewel, drawing 1.7 million visitors annually to the county's 17 parks. The parks serve diverse recreation pursuits including campsites, picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields, and 186 miles of trails for hiking, equestrian, cycling and multi-use.

It takes a lot of work to maintain parks. Someone has to clean the restrooms, and empty the trash and recycling containers. Then there's maintenance--facilities, roads, restrooms, benches, parking lots, signage, and water, sewer and electrical infrastructure all have to be kept-up.

According to a needs analysis performed prior to the failed 2006 and 2008 sales tax revenue ballot measures, the parks department needs $11.1 million a year. Right now it's getting $8.4 million, which includes a $6 million allocation from the General Fund.

Looming on the immediate horizon, $12.1 million in capital improvements have been identified for the next five years.

The issue of adequate funding for county parks is being addressed by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday meeting.

Among possible solutions to the funding shortfall is the use of inmates to perform labor, conservation apprenticeship programs, and the identification of sustainable funding such as concession contracts.

The Board of Supervisors meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 31 at 400 County Center, Redwood City. View the full agenda.

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