CGF letter of support for AB 697

(We submitted the following letter to support AB 697, a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Ira Ruskin to extend the allowable payback time for bonds issued by MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District. This may sound technical and boring, but the result is more upfront money to buy land before the costs spiral out of control. We hope it passes. -Brian)

July 10, 2007

Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod

Standing Committee on Local Government

California State Senate

Sacramento, CA9581

FAX 916. 445-0128

AB 697 (Ruskin): SUPPORT

Dear Chairperson McLeod:

The Committee for Green Foothills (CGF) strongly urges you to support AB 697, which would increase needed resources to purchase and preserve vital public open space lands by increasing the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s debt term from 20 years to 30 years. CGF was instrumental in the founding of MROSD, and we know that this change would further the effectiveness of this important institution for protecting open space.

As you know, rising real estate prices threaten the midpeninsula’s last remaining natural open space lands. We support decisive action by the District to buy open space areas to protect our natural environment and create opportunities for public recreation. AB 697 would benefit the public by saving taxpayer money and producing more funds to purchase and preserve open space lands.

The District has a stable source of income through local property taxes and has received Moody’s highest rating. Because short-term rates in the current bond market are not much different than long-term rates the District would not have to pay higher interest rates for paying back its debt over a longer-term. The extension of the District’s debt is appropriate also because the District’s financing is only aimed at the purchase of land for preservation as open space – and the public will own this land in perpetuity.

We ask for your help in ensuring the passage of this critical change in the District’s enabling legislation that would save taxpayers money and increase funds to purchase and preserve essential public open space lands that are vanishing quickly.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Brian A. Schmidt

Legislative Advocate, Santa ClaraCounty

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