We would like to encourage the voters of the greater Mt. Shasta area to vote “yes” on Measure V in the March 26 special election. Recent letters to the editor by local real estate agents have cited the expense of the measure, citing the yearly parcel tax of $75 for developed and $40 for undeveloped parcels as being too expensive. The amount quoted at $6.25 a month for a developed parcel adds up to less than two Starbucks coffees or one fast food meal per month. The amount of less than ten dollars per month to tenants is miniscule compared to the benefit our local parks bring to the community. Plus, retired folks on a fixed income can apply for a waiver. From a couple that is in the process of building a home, we know that the problem with affordable housing in California is due to the extreme regulations and high cost of building and maintaining a home. Why not blame the real culprit, the California Legislature, which has taken income sources form local communities and raised taxes and fees on all of us?

Local parks are a huge benefit to a community and add to the allure of buying a home in any town. Parks benefit youth sports programs as well. Shastice Park has tennis, soccer, ice skating and the skate park. The Mt. Shasta City Park, with its Sacramento headwaters and trail system, attracts an amazing number of tourists to our area. Plus, the buildings are used for a variety of activities, like senior meals, weddings, plays, meetings and more. Our children attended 4-H meetings and various other activities at the park while growing up in Mt. Shasta. In other areas, parents pay through the nose for their children to play sports and participate in various activities in the park systems. Would our community members be able to afford the cost if the park system is forced to raise all the fees in order for the community to use its resources? The parcel tax is a way for all of us to participate in the cost.

Unfortunately, the Mt. Shasta Parks and Recreation district just doesn’t take in enough money to fix the serious problems that currently exist and that will cost many thousands to repair and update, nor to add the security measures needed to prevent abuses at local parks. Even though we are retired and our children and grandchildren live elsewhere, we will gladly pay the parcel taxes for our home and lot to support parks in our community. We believe that the benefits outweigh the cost for residents. Please vote “yes” for Measure V to keep our parks open and serving our community.

Tom and Susan Heilmann

Mount Shasta