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Ventura County Roundup / East | MOORPARK

Council Approves Mail Vote on Parks

October 09, 1998|ANDY SAMUELSON

The city is scheduled to hold an election by mail next spring to decide whether to tax property owners for maintenance of city parks.

The City Council voted 4 to 0 Wednesday, with Councilman Chris Evans absent, to allocate $30,000 to $40,000 to hire a consultant to set up mail-in ballots that would be sent to property owners.

The money will come from the city's general fund.

The levy, which would set up a maintenance tax for the city's parks, is similar to Measure P, which was rejected by voters in 1997.

Mayor Patrick Hunter said the city should wage a better campaign this time to educate residents on the benefits of the tax.

"It needs to be explained to residents how valuable the park system is and what is being asked of them," Hunter said. "That was part of the confusion of Measure P."

City officials have said the assessment is necessary to avoid further closures of the city's parks because of a lack of funds. The city closed Monte Vista Park earlier this year.

Unlike a general election--when all eligible voters can take part and the tax requires approval from two-thirds of the ballots--only property owners can vote in the mail balloting and only a simple majority is needed for approval.

Certain ballots, however, will be weighted more heavily than others, based on the property owner's benefit from the assessment. Mary Lindley, the city's director of community services, said about 8,000 ballots will be distributed throughout the city.

Because of the failure of Measure P, which would have continued a property assessment tax that paid for city park maintenance, the city is expected to face a $600,000 shortfall for the 1999-2000 fiscal year.

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