Today was a disappointing day. We, the Board of Supervisors, adopted our Fiscal Year 2017/18 All-Funds Budget, including the County’s General Fund. After lengthy, and at times passionate discussion, as well as multi-media presentations about the social and environmental impacts of illegal camping in the American River Parkway and adjacent neighborhoods, a majority of the Board approved the 2017/18 Regional Parks budget by a vote of 4-1.
I was the lone dissenting vote as I could not in good conscience support the County CEO’s recommendation for woefully inadequate resource allocation (essentially the status quo) to address illegal camping impacts along the Parkway. It is painfully clear that the status quo is not working and illegal campsites, homemade latrines, wildfires, strewn garbage, off-leash aggressive dogs, assaults, and illegal intravenous drug use continues to proliferate, making the Parkway – especially the lower reach – uninviting and dangerous.
Our budgets reflect our values. Sacramento County’s 2017/18 Regional Parks recommended budget – now adopted – does not represent how I value the Parkway, nor does it reflect how most of my constituents value this incredible regional asset.
The only bright spot I can see from today’s action is that we did provide direction to executive staff to return next month with various recommendations for funding augmentation that might better address public safety and refuse collection in the Parkway. My fear, however, is that these forthcoming recommendations will be presented as exaggerated Sophie’s Choices limiting our ability to explore creative funding sources and/or forcing us to sacrifice other important aspects of county service delivery. We’ll see what happens, especially on July 11 when the Board of Supervisors reconvenes in open session.
In the meantime, if you consider yourself an avid admirer of the American River Parkway and want to speak-up and express your interest in a cleaner, safer environment there, I suggest you continue to monitor my posts here as well as my Facebook page. Thank you.