CLAYTON -- The City Council will vote on a proposal at its next meeting to put a 20-year extension of the downtown park parcel tax on the November 2014 ballot.

The Grove Park opened in the center of town in 2008, and has become the primary recreation and gathering place for popular community events, such as the Concerts at the Grove summer music series.

Council approval putting the parcel tax measure on the ballot, along with a two-thirds voter approval in November will assure funding for continued Grove Park upkeep of amenities, including a play structure, swings, five-car train, water play area, picnic tables, benches and grassy areas.

The special Community Facilities District tax covers ongoing costs related only to the Grove Park, not to any city other parks.

Revenue from it goes into the general fund, according to City Manager Gary Napper's comment at the July 1 council meeting, but is accounted for (and audited) separately.

That fund is used to pay for maintenance, repair and replacement landscaping, irrigation, hardscape, lighting, public restrooms, the gazebo, playground water, electricity and other miscellaneous operating and administrative expenses for the Grove Park.

Those expenses are presently covered by Measure O, which was approved by 68.19 percent of voters in November 2006, and which expires in 2017. The council will vote on a proposal is to extend that, with very minor adjustments, for 20 years beyond 2017.

Currently, residents pay $18.56 per year, an amount that is adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index with a 3 percent maximum increase annually. The proposed tax rate will apply an annual maximum CPI increase of 2.78 percent, according to the city staff report.

Consequently, the 2014-2015 residential tax will be $19.08 per parcel. Per quarter-acre, owners in the core downtown area will pay $257.56, commercial parcel owners will pay $112.90, recreation open space parcels will be taxed at $56.44, and multifamily residential parcel owners will pay $59.32.

Laura Hoffmeister, assistant to the city manager, made a detailed report to the council at the Tuesday meeting, estimating the total revenue for 2014-2015 at $120,101.76.

The council has been working on the plan to extend the existing rate at the past two council meetings, refining the length of the extension and language of the proposed tax measure. There appeared to be consensus at those meetings about the need to start the ballot process for an extension because of the fiscal year, and election date cycles.

Councilwoman Julie Pierce and Councilman Howard Geller were chosen to for the ad hoc committee which will write a 200-word favorable comment for the ballot, anticipating the proposal is approved during the public hearing at the July 15 council meeting.

Contact Dana Guzzetti at dguzzetti@gmail.com or call 925-202-9292.

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