‘Fresno For Parks’ Moves Forward, Despite Objection To More Taxes

FRESNO (KMJ) — Fresno City Council has voted unanimously to place the ‘Fresno for Parks’ initiative on the November ballot, as a crowd of supporters turned out to make it clear that the plan has a substantial force behind it.

The decision during Thursday’s meeting came after more than an hour of public comment on the plan. It would increase sales and use tax by 3/8% and is expected to raise an estimated $37.5 million annually over 30 years. The Fresno Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Tax Ordinance is designed to improve areas such as park safety, updating playgrounds, and creating trails.

“I’ve worked on many civic project toward the betterment of our community and I believe ‘Fresno for Parks’ represents a huge opportunity to move forward,” explained District 1 resident Amy Kitchener.

“A comprehensive approach to improving the quality of life for all Fresnans.”

Executive Director of the Maddy Institute Mark Keppler said improvements can attract new companies into the City of Fresno.

“We need to attract talent to our community, maintain and grow our businesses. The only way we can do that is if you have amenities that attract those businesses to our community.”

Following public comment, Councilmember Oliver Baines voiced his support for the initiative.

“Fresno has been the butt of many jokes, many of our residents don’t have the pride that we need to have in our community. We as a council on many occasions just do the minimum, just enough, and here you all are asking us to do so much more.”

But Councilmember Garry Bredefeld said Fresno has other priorities besides parks.

“We needs hundreds of more officers, 911 dispatchers who answer calls for people in emergencies – right now that’s not happening quick enough, we need fire personnel, upgrading of police equipment.”

The ballot measure now goes to Fresno’s voters for a final decision in November.

Hear the report from KMJ’s Dominic McAndrew as it aired: