Important note: The following recommendation was approved by the Board of Supervisors on April 23, 2013:

To:            Honorable Board of Supervisors

From:       John L. Maltbie, County Manager

Subject:   San Mateo County Parks Strategic Plan and Measure A Funding


A. Approve the San Mateo County Parks Strategic Plan 2013 to 2018.

B. Direct staff to include seven additional positions in the Parks FY 2013/14 Proposed Budget to re-establish a stand-alone Parks Department, staff Devil’s Slide and begin implementation of the Strategic Plan recommendations. For FY 2014/15, direct the Parks Department to develop an Operations Plan to be brought to the Board in early 2014.

C. Direct staff to budget Measure A funds in the amount of $1,766,208 for the new positions, associated costs and major maintenance work in the FY 2013/14 budget.

D. Direct staff to budget up to $3.5 million for Parks capital projects in the FY 2013/14 budget.


At the July 31, 2012 Board of Supervisors’ workshop on Parks, the Board directed the Parks Division to prepare a new five year Strategic Plan and formed a subcommittee of Supervisors Horsley and Pine to work with staff on the project. Over the past years, budget reductions have reduced staffing at some Park facilities and resulted in deferral of many maintenance projects.

The Division, in conjunction with the County Manager’s Office, has prepared a 2013 to 2018 San Mateo County Parks Strategic Plan (Plan). Development of the Plan included public, stakeholder, and staff input and surveys, benchmarking with similar organizations, review of capital, maintenance, and operational needs, and identification of customer needs and expectations. The Plan was available on the Division’s website and a brochure was developed and printed to advertise the undertaking.

The initial draft of the “Vision, Goals and Strategies” section of the Plan was reviewed  by the Parks and Recreation Commission on December 6, 2012. At the meeting, comments were received and it was decided that additional time for public outreach and comment was needed. The revised Plan was reviewed and approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission on March 7, 2013 with the assistance of Supervisors Horsley and Pine. A copy of the Final Draft is available on the County Parks website at, in the County Manager’s Office and at the Department of Public Works and Parks reception area.

The San Mateo County Parks Strategic Plan is organized into four themes with associated goals:

  • Stewardship – Open all currently closed facilities, address all maintenance backlogs and stay up to date on all maintenance activities throughout the park system
  • Community Engagement – Improve partnerships with Friends and other stakeholder groups
  • Environmental Literacy – Enhance the visitor experience through more robust educational and interpretive programs
  • Fiscal Management – Increase Parks revenue

The Strategic plan outlines a vision for the Parks System; the next step is developing an implementation plan. Prior year budget reductions have taken a toll on our Park  System, but our implementation plan should not be to used to restore past staffing models and management practices without analyzing all options. Therefore, using the Strategic Plan goals as a guide, the first assignment for the new Parks Director will be  to develop a fiscally sustainable Operations Plan for San Mateo County Parks. The Operations Plan will evaluate new revenue and facility management options and incorporate the agile organization concepts adopted by the Board into the staffing plan.  It will also include a prioritized maintenance project list and equipment and vehicle replacement time lines and include details on capital projects for the five years starting  in FY 2014/15. The Plan will be a road map for balancing all the Strategic Plan goals – environmental stewardship, community engagement, visitor experience and fiscal sustainability.

The Operating Plan will be reviewed by the Parks Commission and brought to your Board for consideration in the spring of 2014. Budget recommendations for the Parks Department in FY 2014/15 will be developed based on the opportunities and needs identified in the Operations Plan.


To begin implementation of the Parks Strategic Plan, it is recommended that seven positions and associated operating expenses be added to the Parks Department in the FY 2003/14 budget. The new positions include:

  • A Parks Director and Executive Secretary to re-establish a stand-alone Parks Department
  • Two Rangers and a Natural Resource Manager to support operations improvements and maintenance work
  • Two Rangers for Devil’s Slide.

The estimated total cost of these new positions and associated operating expenses is $1,066,208.

Measure A funds are recommended as the funding source for the highest priority maintenance work in the Parks. It is estimated that about $700,000 is needed in FY 2013/14, but a final, refined dollar amount will be brought to the Board in the Recommended Budget.

Parks staff have identified over $20 million in capital projects needed over the next five years with annual costs of $3.5 to $4.5 million a year. While these projects and costs will be prioritized in the Operations Plan, it is recommended that up to $3.5 million in Measure A funds be allocated in FY 2013/14 for the highest priority projects related to visitor safety. Recommendations on specific capital projects and their associated costs will be brought to your Board in Five Year Capital Plan as part of the Recommended Budget.


It is recommended that $1,766,208 in Measure A funds be appropriated in the FY 2013/14 budget for the seven new Parks Department positions and associated operating costs and the highest priority maintenance work. For FY 2014/15, budget recommendations will be developed based on the Park Operations Plan prepared by the new Parks Department Director and brought to your Board in early 2014.  Up to an additional $3.5 million for Parks capital projects in FY 2013/14 is also recommended for appropriation from Measure A funds

Measure A Funds recommended in this Report:

  • Parks Department         $1,766,208
  • Parks Capital Projects  $3,500,000
  • Total                                $5,266,208

Cumulative Measure A funds tentatively approved to Date: 0

Important note: This is a copy of the official report  -- item 8 on the Board's agenda.