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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election

City and County of San Francisco
Proposition B - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results


143,113 votes yes (60.05%)

95,223 votes no (39.95%)

Park, Recreation, and Open Space Fund
— undefined

Shall the amendments to the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco to require an annual baseline appropriation for the Park, Recreation and Open Space Fund based on City spending for park and recreation purposes in FY2015-2016, extend the annual set-aside and the baseline appropriation for 15 years to FY2045-2046, and modify the Recreation and Park Department's planning obligations to include equity analysis and Board of Supervisors review be adopted?.

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

A “YES” Vote Means: If you vote “yes,” you want to extend the Park, Recreation and Open Space Fund until 2046 and require the City to give the Recreation and Park Department each year a minimum baseline amount from the General Fund in addition to the Fund set-aside.

NO vote means

A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want to make these changes to the Charter.


Digest by the Ballot Simplification Committee

The Way It Is Now: The City’s Recreation and Park Department (Department) operates and maintains over two hundred parks, as well as many playgrounds, recreation facilities and open spaces throughout San Francisco. 

In 2000, San Francisco voters created the Park, Recreation and Open Space Fund (Fund). Every year, the City must set aside and deposit into the Fund a portion of the property tax it collects. The Department must use that money to provide park and recreational services and facilities. The current amount of the set-aside is 2½ cents for each $100 of assessed property value.

The Fund will expire in 2031.

In addition to this set-aside, each year the Department also receives money from the City’s General Fund. The City is not required to appropriate any specific amount for the Department beyond the set-aside in the Fund. 

In 2000–2001, the Recreation and Park Department received 2.1% of the City’s General Fund. That percentage dropped to 1.2% in the 2014–2015 fiscal year. A Parks Alliance budget analysis shows that, if the 2.1% had remained constant, the Department would now be receiving approximately $89 million instead of $50 million.

The Proposal: Proposition B would amend the Charter to:

• extend the Fund for an additional 15 years to 2046; 

• require the City, beginning in fiscal year 2016–2017, to give the Department each year a minimum baseline amount from the General Fund, in addition to the Fund set-aside.

This baseline amount would be equal to the Department’s share of the budget from the General Fund in fiscal year 2015–2016. Each year through fiscal year 2026–2027 the City would increase that baseline amount by $3 million. After 2026–2027, the Controller would adjust the annual baseline amount based on the City’s revenues. In any fiscal year, the City would not be required to make any increase if the City is facing a substantial budget deficit; and 

• require the Department to determine whether low-income neighborhoods and disadvantaged communities are receiving the same level of Department services and resources as the City as a whole. If the levels are not the same, the Department would have to develop a plan to correct these imbalances.

Financial effect

Controller’s Statement on “B”

City Controller Ben Rosenfield has issued the following statement on the fiscal impact of Proposition B:

Should the proposed charter amendment be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it would have a significant impact on the cost of government.

The proposed amendment would create a new baseline funding requirement for parks, recreation, and open space that would grow over time. These funds are currently part of the City’s General Fund discretionary revenues, available for any public purpose. As funds are shifted to meet the proposed baseline established in the amendment, other City spending would have to be reduced or new revenues identified to maintain current City service levels.

The Recreation and Parks Department receives approximately $64 million from the City’s General Fund to support its fiscal year (FY) 2015–16 budget. The proposed amendment would create a new baseline funding requirement, binding on the Mayor and Board of Supervisors, equal to this amount. This allocation would grow by $3.0 million per year for the next ten fiscal years. After that, and prior to the sunset of the baseline in FY 2045–46, this baseline amount would be adjusted at the same rate as the percentage increase or decrease in the City’s discretionary revenues. The amendment allows the City to temporarily suspend growth in baseline funding in years when the City forecasts a budget deficit of $200 million or greater.

Additionally, the measure would extend the sunset date for an existing voter-approved set-aside for parks, recreation and open space by an additional 15 years. The existing Charter set-aside of City property tax revenues was approved by the voters in 2000. This set-aside is 2.5 cents per $100 of the City’s total assessed property value, budgeted at $46 million in FY 2015–16. The proposed amendment would extend this set-aside by 15 years, moving its sunset date from FY 2030–31 to FY 2045–46. This set-aside is in addition to the General Fund budget for the department, and therefore in addition to the baseline established in the measure. 

The proposed amendment requires Recreation and Parks to set goals and measures, develop a five year strategic plan and set annual operational and capital spending plans. The plans must be approved by the Recreation and Parks Commission, the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors. A performance audit is required in the fourth year of the strategic plan cycle.

This proposed amendment is not in compliance with a non-binding, voter-adopted city policy regarding set-asides. The policy seeks to limit set-asides which reduce General Fund dollars that could otherwise be allocated by the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors in the annual budget process.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

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