PRMCC to hear about Prop 68 funds

MARTINEZ, Calif. ­­– Martinez might be able to use Proposition 68 money for park improvements, a former Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission (PRMCC) member will tell the panel Tuesday.

Sherida Bush is a past Commission member who also is a longtime nature advocate, “Bay Nature” writer, founding member of Thousand Friends of Martinez and a John Muir Association board member, will give an informal presentation about Prop. 68, the Parks, Environment and Water Bond approved by 57.59 percent of voters June 5.

That measure authorized $4 billion in general obligation bonds for state and local parks, environmental projection projects, water infrastructure and flood protection.

Prop. 68 requires that between 15 and 20 percent of the funds be spent in communities with median household incomes less than 60 percent of the statewide average. That 60 percent threshold was about $40,000 in 2016, according to an analysis of the ballot measure.

The largest amount of the bond revenue, about $725 million, is intended to be spent on safe neighborhood parks in park-poor areas as defined by the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act of 2008 competitive grant program.

It provides $200 million in per capita grants for local governments to use for improving local parks. Other allocations are $15 million are dedicated for jurisdictions in urbanized counties with populations of 200,000 or fewer for park and recreation services; $30 million for regional park districts, counties, open-space districts, joint powers authorities and eligible nonprofit organizations to restore and improve parks; $40 million for grants to local jurisdictions with certain voter-approved measures to improve local or regional park infrastructure; and $218 million to restore and preserve existing state parks.

Also, $30 million for grants to local agencies, state conservancies, Native American tribes, joint powers authorities and nonprofit organizations to promote new or alternative access to parks, waterways, outdoor recreation and natural environments; $25 million for competitive grants to rural areas for recreational projects; $162 million in grants to conservancies and programs that protect urban creeks and streams; $30 million to the Salton Sea Authority for air quality and habitat protection; $170 million for additional restoration in the Salton Sea Management Program; $180 million for state conservancies; and $137 million for the Wildlife Conservation Board’s regional conservation investment, the University of California Natural Reserve System and improvement of national recreation areas in urban places.

Also, $200 million for the Natural Resources Agency for water quality, supply and protection project agreements; $50 million for the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s deferred maintenance; $175 million for ocean, bay and coastal protection projects; $18 million for the Wildlife Conservation Board to provide and protect wildlife corridors, open space, habitats, climate change adaptation, hunting and wildlife-dependent recreation areas through agreement with private landowners and other projects; $30 million for Pacific Flyway protection; $25 million in stream restoration; $60 million in wildlife and fish passage improvement; $60 million in upper watershed protection and restoration in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains; $30 million to the Department of Fish and Wildlife to improve streams, rivers, wildlife refuges and other places; $40 million to help coastal communities adapt to climate change; $30 million for farm and ranch projects that sequester carbon, protect wildlife habitats and reduce fire risk; and $40 million to the California Conservation Corps.

Also, $60 million for cultural, natural and historic protection grants; $250 million for clean drinking water and drought programs; $80 million for groundwater cleanup grants; $350 million for flood protection and levee improvements in the Central Valley; $100 million to prevent stormwater and flash flood damage; $100 million for grants for projects providing multiple benefits to urban areas; and $290 million for drought and groundwater investments.

Prop. 68 reallocated $100 million in unissued Prop. 1, Prop. 84 and Prop. 40 bonds that haven’t been spent.

In a letter to the Commission, Bush wrote that the panel might have a particular project that could be “a good fit for these funds,” and that Martinez might seek other grants that could be used to leverage the per-capita funds the city could receive.

Besides the per-capita allocations to cities for park creation, rehabilitation and improvements, Martinez also might be able to get a share of the $15 million earmarked for grants to smaller cities. “There is a minimum allocation to cities in the amount of $200,000,” she wrote. “That is probably the amount Martinez will receive.

Bush wrote that the deputy director of administrative services, Michael Chandler, said in August that Martinez is waiting for the League of California Cities to release information about the timing and amount of funding.

“PRMCC knowledge of what Proposition 68 means for the city is important,” Bush wrote. She said the panel can keep residents informed about the proposition and how its money is spent locally.

“Seeing the tangible results of their vote helps residents support important funding measures. Grantors like to see the community support for grant applications as well,” she explained.

Commissioners can identify suitable projects for Prop. 68 funding as well as grants that might help Martinez leverage other funding for projects. They also can encourage the city to become a partner with other agencies, such as the state, the East Bay Regional Park District and nonprofit organizations, to achieve its goals.

The Commission will start Tuesday’s meeting with a walking tour of Hidden Lakes Park, one of the municipal parks on which Measure H money has been spent. It also will hear a report on the city’s Public Works Department.

Recreation Coordinator Kara Galindo’s report said the city’s fall and winter activity guide has been published and is available on the city’s website. Municipal picnic area rentals are down slightly, but are expected to increase through early October because of the reopening of the Waterfront Park’s picnic areas, she wrote.

Other Martinez recreation programs and camps were popular, and many reached participation capacities. Looking forward, Galindo wrote that the city’s annual restaurant tour will involve at least 11 restaurants, if not more, when it takes place Oct. 6.

Among other upcoming events are Wednesday Ooohs, Ahs and Giggles programs with a variety of entertainers, Library Community Story Time, cemetery tours, the Martinez Archive crawl, several car shows, Comedy under the Starts Sept. 29; the Alhambra High School Homecoming Parade Oct. 5, Rankin Aquatic Center Pumpkin Dunkin Oct. 14, the Martinez Marina and Prodigalz Toy Drive and Car Show and the Boys and Girls Club Kids Day, both taking place Oct 20.

The PRMCC will meet at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday to take the Hidden Lakes Park tour, and its regular meeting will start at 7 p.m. in Martinez City Hall Council Chamber, 525 Henrietta St.

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