A Healthy Return on Your Measure AA Investment in Open Space
Ever since Midpen was created by local voters in 1972, a small portion of property tax paid within our service area has been supporting our organization. Local voters strengthened that symbiosis between Bay Area property values and our region’s abundance of natural lands when they passed Measure AA in 2014. Measure AA is an authorization to issue $300 million of bonds, also paid to Midpen through property tax, being used to fulfill the community’s vision for their public open space.
Here’s how Measure AA, specifically, works:
- Homeowners pay annual property tax based on their home’s value. A small portion is for Measure AA, depending on how much of the bond Midpen has issued.
- Today, homeowners within our service area pay a Measure AA property tax to Midpen of .90 cents per $100,000 in assessed home value, or $9 per year for a $1 million home.
- Measure AA funds have already allowed Midpen to accomplish several priority projects identified by the community in our vision plan, including access to Mount Umunhum and La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve.
- Over the next several decades, Midpen will use Measure AA funds to fund all 25 vision plan projects providing more preserved, restored and accessible open spaces contributing to our community’s health and quality of life.
The Measure AA property tax rate being paid to Midpen has stayed lower than expected for the last several years, under $10 per $1 million in assessed home value, in part because of Midpen’s conservative and prudent approach to finances according to our Chief Financial Officer Stefan Jaskulak.
“We’re very mindful as to how much debt we issue. When we do issue debt we take advantage of the lowest possible interest rates. That helps to keep the tax levy as low as possible,” Jaskulak said. “When we issue bonds, we’re now issuing them as green bonds to emphasize that our projects are environmentally responsible.”
In August, Midpen’s board of directors voted to divest of all investments in non-renewable energy including fossil fuels. “We have many other investment options, so it doesn’t hamper anything,” Jaskulak said of the change. “It aligns our investment policy with Midpen’s vision and mission.”