The San Benito County Parks and Recreation commissioners received word this week that they will receive a grant from the Health Trust. The Health Trust awarded the county $61,500 for the first phase of looking into creating a special district that would support parks and recreation in the county.

Janelle Cox, a county management analyst who works with the parks and recreation commission, said she originally applied for funding for both a planning and implementation phase for a special district. The grant request was $200,000 to take the county through the end of the election process required for a special district.

“They said, ‘Why give $200,000, if in phase I, the community says no, we do not support the establishment or a revenue source?’” Cox said.

Instead the Health Trust provided $61,500 that will cover the cost of community surveys, public outreach and working with the Local Agency Formation Commission on the legalities of creating a district.

“They gave us some PR dollars to do scientific pollster work and ask what are (community members) willing to support,” Cox said.

She said the goal is to complete the work by August 2013 to conduct a mail ballot election.

“Otherwise, we’d be looking at a special election and that costs substantially more,” she said. “If we can get going on a whole mechanism to support parks we will have ongoing sustainability. The commission is talking about establishing a Parks and Recreation foundation, too, to have a means to start fundraising.”

Cox said she was not clear if the county will be eligible to apply for a second Health Trust grant for the balance of the funding to do the mail ballot election.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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