Special tax would provide an annual revenue stream of about $4.5 million for parks and recreation services within the community

CATHEDRAL CITY — For the past four years, the city has been working with the Desert Recreation District (DRD) to bring park and recreation services to the community. Now, the City Council appears prepared to take a special tax vote to the residents in November to make that effort a reality.

The Desert Recreation District currently provides park and recreation services in the region surrounding the city, but not currently within the city. It plans to submit an application to the Riverside County Local Agency Formation Commission to annex the territory within the city into the service area of the

The COVID-19 pandemic put initial efforts on hold in early 2020; however, in recent months work on that project has resumed. Polling was completed in early 2022 and results presented to the City Council
in May. According to the poll results, there appeared to be a chance for a successful election, according to a staff report from City Manager Charles McClendon.

The Council has determined that placing a local revenue measure on the Nov. 8 ballot and the successful approval of the measure would provide long-term funding for park and recreation facilities and services to the territory within the city. It would mean creating a Community Facilities District. (CFD)

Cathedral City is the only Coachella Valley City without its own local parks and recreation department. As a result, local children, families and seniors have access to fewer parks and recreational programs and services than residents in surrounding communities. Cathedral City is unable to maintain local parks and facilities to the same standards as neighboring communities, according to a proposed resolution the City Council will consider.

The CFD would also expand community recreational programs and facilities to provide Cathedral City’s 14,000 children and youth after-school, weekend and holiday. Upgrading maintenance of Cathedral City parks, to the same standard as other DRD parks throughout the region, will help maintain safe drinking water at parks, repair deteriorating facilities and improve security lighting and fencing.

Annexing into the District would give Cathedral City residents access to the parks and recreation facilities, programs and classes offered by the District at resident rates, including community and fitness centers, sports fields, swimming pools, a golf course and driving range, as well as other various parks and open space.

Revenues generated from the Parks and Recreation ballot measure will pay for capital improvements to parks and recreation facilities within the city and funding for ongoing operations and maintenance, and cannot be diverted to other uses, ensuring a continual funding source for parks and recreation services for city, according to the resolution the City Council will consider.

On Wednesday, Aug. 3, the City Council will hold a public hearing and consider adopting a resolution in support of the Parks and Recreation special tax Ballot Measure which, if approved by Cathedral City voters, would allow the city to invest up to $39 million in capital improvements to city parks and recreation facilities up front and provide an annual revenue stream of an estimated $4.5 million for parks and recreation services within the city.

Cathedral City Plans to Take Special Tax to Voters

Ocotillo Park

Councilors seem prepared to adopt a Resolution to Form the City of Cathedral City Community
Facilities District under the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982. This was the year Sens. Henry Mello and Assemblyman Mike Roos assisted in the passage of the “Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982” authorizing local governments and developers to create Community Facilities Districts (CFDs) for the purpose of selling tax-exempt bonds to fund public improvements.

In Cathedral City the maximum annual special tax for each developed property for fiscal year 2023-24 is as follows:

  • Single-family residential property, $0.15 building square foot
  • Accessory dwelling unit, $123 unit
  • Residential condominium property, $196 unit
  • Multi-family residential property, $172 unit
    Non-residential property, $734.00 parcel

No special tax shall be levied on agricultural property, timeshare property, public property and undeveloped property.

Depending upon interest rates at the time of bond issuance, it is anticipated the special taxes collected would support a bond issue in the amount of $38-$39 million dollars. Annual revenue generated to support services and debt service is approximately $4.6 million, according to McClendon.

While Cathedral City has long recognized the need for more recreational opportunities for its youth, seniors, and families, the recent pandemic and the needs that arose out of the lockdown and stay-at-home periods have caused the City Council and staff to “press forward quicker and more boldly” to rehabilitate and improve facilities that residents use, Mayor Raymond Gregory told Uken Report earlier.

In 2021, the City Council allocated $2.1 million for parks improvements.

The City Council will meet in special session at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3 in the City Council Chambers,
68-700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero in Cathedral City.

This meeting will be conducted in person and via videoconference.


Image Sources

  • Ocotillo Park: Cathedral City
  • Children playing soccer: Shutterstock