The cost of Measure V is $75 per developed parcel and $40 for undeveloped parcels for a period of 25 years. Seniors would be eligible for a full exemption on their primary residence. This boils down to $6.25 per month for owners of developed parcels, which would be added to their annual property tax bills.

Mt. Shasta area voters will make a decision next Tuesday on Measure V, a parcel tax to raise funds for improving the infrastructure at Mount Shasta City Park and Shastice Park.

The cost of Measure V is $75 per developed parcel and $40 for undeveloped parcels for a period of 25 years. Seniors would be eligible for a full exemption on their primary residence. This boils down to $6.25 per month for owners of developed parcels, which would be added to their annual property tax bills.

It is estimated that $300,000 would be raised by the parcel tax annually, according to the measure’s text.

The majority of voters who live in the 96067 zipcode will have the opportunity to cast their vote on Measure V, which requires two-thirds voter approval to pass.

Opponents of “V” do not want to see more taxes and are worried about the effect on affordable housing if it’s successful. If “V” passes, they are concerned that landlords will pass the cost along to renters, thereby increasing rent in the Mt. Shasta area.

Opponents are also concerned about the length of the tax and its impact on future generations.

Mount Shasta Recreation and Parks Administrator Mike Rodriguez explained during an interview that money from Measure V would be used solely for park infrastructure and cannot be used for things like wages or equipment. A citizen oversight committee would be formed to approve how the funds are spent.

Future generations will benefit from Measure V, said Rodriguez, since its funds will improve not just the parks but also the sports fields, including Mt. Shasta Youth Sports Park, Mount Shasta High School’s Martindale Field, the soccer fields near Sisson and those at Shastice, as well as Shastice’s antiquated tennis courts. Money could also be used to keep the skate park, bike trails and ice rink in good shape for years to come.

Seniors who take advantage of the Senior Nutrition Program would see improvements in the City Park’s Upper Lodge, where their meals are served three times a week. The Upper Lodge is also the location of Mount Shasta City Council’s bi-weekly meetings.

Rodriguez has been busy answering questions about Measure V, which is nearly identical to Measure P, which failed in the general election in November by a handful of votes. The only difference between the two, he explained, are V’s exemptions for senior citizens.

Rodriguez said he has been asked why the MSRPD doesn’t work toward a sales tax, like the .25 percent sales tax Friends of the Library was able to pass with voters in June 2011. That way, visitors and locals would be paying their share to update the parks.

Rodriguez explained that because the MSRPD is a special district, it cannot by law levy a sales tax. If residents want to support their parks, they’ll have to step up with another solution, such as Measure V.

Rodriguez said the most pressing project that would be funded by proceeds from Measure V is the failing septic system at the City Park. Future plans include hooking into the city’s sewer system. And while some have asked questions about whether this move has anything to do with Crystal Geyser and their plans for their facility on Truck Village Drive, Rodriguez said that is not the case.

“The proximity to the Sacramento Headwaters and creek is troubling,” Rodriguez said. “A new sewer hookup to the city’s sewer system protects the Headwaters ... and creek by eliminateing the failing leechfield.”

In addition, MSRPD plans to use Measure V funding to improve safety at their parks with additional lighting and security cameras.

“These improvements will help the police deal more effectively with the homeless situation,” Rodriguez said.

In recent years, local residents have expressed concerns about the City Park, specifically, being inhabited by homeless people.

In addition, a secondary access for fire and emergency vehicles would be added to the City Park using Measure V funding to ensure emergency access if a train is blocking the tracks. Shastice Park will also get a much needed secondary emergency access, Rodriguez said.

Renovating the antiquated buildings at the City Park are another big project Measure V would help with. These buildings include the Upper Lodge, the Lower Lodge, the Rod and Gun Club and the Dance Hall. They were all built nearly 100 years ago when the City park was Chico State College’s Summer School.

Rodriguez said each of the buildings is being evaluated for necessary steps to make them structurally sound and ADA compliant.

“Residents will be able to see the results of their tax dollars in park projects – a new sewer connection and trail, roads and parking lots that aren’t choked with potholes, rebuilt tennis courts safety lighting and more.”

He added that while the MSRPD has done its best with property tax funding and grants it currently receives, the projects are too great to fund without something like Measure V.

“It’s important to realize that the costs for a public entity such as the MSRPD to do construction projects are not the same as those for private homeowners,” said Rodriguez. “Specifically in regards to the critically needed sewer connection at the City Park. The District is required to go through the CEQA process, put projects out to bid and hire at prevailing wage, all of which are costly.”

Look for results of the March 26 election as soon as they are available at mtshastanews.com.