Letter from the General Manager: November – December 2017

Robert E. Doyle

Leveraging Taxpayer Funds to Improve Regional Parks
A Message from General Manager Robert E. Doyle
November – December 2017

Two of the most important objectives of East Bay Regional Park District’s Board and staff are ensuring daily public safety in our parks, and overseeing fiscal responsibility with accuracy and precision. For its strong fiscal management and balanced budgets, the Park District has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for 16 consecutive years. Additionally, the Park District has a AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s (S&P) – the highest possible rating.

Fiscal responsibility also includes leveraging taxpayer funds to obtain additional state and federal dollars. A recent study showed that for every $1 invested into a project by the District, the Park District has obtained $2 from external sources.

Recent examples of the Park District leveraging funding include wetland projects that provide better public access at both Dotson Family Marsh at Point Pinole Regional Park and at Bay Point Regional Shoreline in Eastern Contra Costa County.

In 2016, the Park District identified public access improvements at Bay Point Regional Shoreline as a priority and invested $900,000 of voter-approved Measure WW funds to kick-start planning.

The future, upgraded, Bay Point Regional Shoreline will enhance public shoreline access for the entire East Contra Costa County community. Improvements will also address the impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels, by providing a buffer for public facilities and homes near the shoreline. The Bay Point Regional Shoreline consists of 150 acres of Bay-Delta open space and marshland in unincorporated Contra Costa County near Pittsburg.

Fast forward one year, the Park District is now the recipient of $1,450,000 in grant funds for the Bay Point Regional Shoreline project, including including $750,000 from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund, $450,000 in Port Chicago Mitigation Funds, $200,0000 from the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and $75,000 from the Contra Costa County Housing Related Parks Program.

That is over 29% of the total $4-5 million Bay Point Regional Shoreline project costs obtained so far from external sources – all through leveraging the Park District’s original, local investment. And, the Park District continues to pursue other grant opportunities.

The Park District is pleased to have been selected for grant funding and is thankful to our elected officials and partner agencies who helped make it happen. The Park District was one of only 22 national recipients of the highly coveted and competitive Land and Water Conservation Fund grant.

I am proud of the Park District’s tradition of leveraging local tax dollars to make big improvements to our parks. In recent years, external grants have accounted for about $9 million of the total $26 million in annual project spending. This is a great value for taxpayers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

We have also received $60 million in external funds from the East Contra Costa Habitat Conservancy over the last 10 years to help preserve open space for habitat and balanced public access.

Thank you for your continued support of Regional Parks. I look forward to updating you on our next successful project!