Keeping Clayton Green

Front page Llandscape maint_johnston for websiteClayton’s landscaping is funded by a special Landscape Maintenance District parcel tax of $234.84 per residential parcel.  The District is due to sunset in 2017. Measure H renews the District for another 10 years at the same rate.

Yes on Measure H

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”     –Chinese Proverb

In 1997, Clayton residents, recognizing the importance of public landscaping and how it defines our community, and faced with the ever-increasing practice of the state withholding or denying funding destined for Clayton, planted a “tree.”

Our “tree” came in the form of a Community Facility District, known as the Trails and Landscape Maintenance District. It was designed to provide 10 years of dedicated funding for the maintenance for our trails, open space and roadside landscaping, and guaranteed those funds would remain within the district and not be subject to political maneuvering or outside pressure, and was approved by our Clayton residents, to protect and enhance our community’s pleasing character.

In 2007, our Clayton residents, with an 83 percent affirmative vote, again expressed their willingness to endorse and support another 10 years of this dedicated funding mechanism for the upkeep of our public landscaping, or what is referred to as “Clayton’s Front Yard.” That vote also established a citizen’s oversight board, the Trails and Landscaping Committee, comprised of Clayton volunteers appointed by the city council and charged with reviewing practices and recommending expenses for the district. Our community’s vote of approval came during a period of economic uncertainty and demonstrated the level of commitment our citizens have for maintaining Clayton’s unique value and quality of life. Through it all, we have continued to enjoy the beauty and outdoor experience synonymous with Clayton. Plus, we helped preserve our property values.

The special parcel tax currently generates approximately $1 million a year for these exclusive purposes. In addition to ongoing maintenance costs, district funds are used for replacing aging district infrastructure and were recently used to repave segments of the trail system and replace seven wood bridge decks crossing creek beds. Upcoming projects include the Cardinet Trail’s erosion repair, hardscape and landscape replacement at seven gateway medians and replacement of city trees in various locations.

As it was in 1997, and again in 2007, Clayton’s modest General Fund budget is unable to adequately provide for our public landscaping. Without this proposed funding, Clayton’s landscaping would rapidly decline and the beauty and character of Clayton would be forever changed.

Now, the time has come again to renew the district. On June 7, California residents will go to the polls to vote on presidential, state and local issues. In Clayton, voters will also consider the continuance of our Trails and Landscape Maintenance District Tax, Measure H. The funding level and methodology enacted 10 years ago have proven to be sufficient. I am especially pleased to say, “We got it right!” Therefore, Measure H on the June 7 ballot is simply a continuation of the existing successful formulas (presently $234.84 per year per parcel) for an additional 10 years, through 2027.

I invite you to plant a “tree” for Clayton and vote “YES” on Measure H.

Dan Richardson is a Clayton Planning Commissioner and member of the Measure H Committee.