By Tony Aguilar, COACHELLA UNINCORPORATED
Coachella, CA – The Coachella City Council unanimously approved a ballot measure last week that, if passed by voters in November, would create two new taxes and increase the recreational options for the city’s young population.
Revenue from the proposed new taxes would help pay for the formation of a citywide community facilities district that will include six soccer fields, three baseball fields, one football field and a community center.
The newly generated funds would bring The City of Coachella to the national standards for park acreage. Currently, Coachella has only 49 acres of parks for its 40,000 residents. The national standard for a city this size is 142 acres. The City of Coachella currently has four softball/baseball fields when it should have eight, three soccer/football fields when it should have six, five basketball courts when it should have eight, and lacks more than 26,000 square feet of community space for its more than 40,000 residents.
The City of Coachella does however meet the standard when it comes to swimming pools (2) and skateboard parks (1). Generated revenues from the proposed taxes would bring Coachella up to standard when it comes to the above mentioned facilities.
The two new taxes would increase property taxes for residential lots by $75 and would increase sales tax in the city by half a cent. The total combined revenue is expected to generate $12.8 million. The City of Coachella currently pays one million dollars for its current park acreage, or about $25,000 per acre. The generated funds would pay to maintain the new facilities.
“It sounds like a good idea overall, if it’s going to benefit the kids,” said Christopher Limon, a Coachella resident. Limon, a former resident of Oasis in the eastern Coachella Valley, moved to Coachella several years ago during the housing boom with his parents and younger brother.
Limon wishes the city provided more safe places for young children like his little brother and other youth to gather and have a good time, adding, “With no summer school and other budget cuts affecting social programs here in the valley more and more youth are winding up on the streets with nothing to do.”
“The voters will have the ultimate say so for the future of the city,” said Eduardo Garcia, mayor of Coachella.
If passed by the voters, the mayor said the plans for the new facilities would go into effect immediately.