Fresno's Chaffee Zoo funding heading for November ballot

Construction on the next big phase of the zoo expansion is well underway.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County voters will get to decide if they want to continue funding improvements to Fresno's Chaffee Zoo.

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors agreed to put the zoo's funding plan, Measure Z on the November ballot.

Construction on the next big phase of the zoo expansion is well underway.

The new construction, along with the Sea Lion Cove and other attractions all paid for with Measure Z, the one tenth of a cent sales tax measure approved by voters ten years ago. It brings in $10 million a year.

But before allowing another Measure Z to go before the voters, some supervisors wanted to make sure the zoo was being open about its finances.

Supervisor Judy Case McNairy said it was a matter of public trust, "And when the public is having their money spent they deserve to know what it's being spent on."

The zoo corporation and its board of directors agreed to give the supervisors more information about what's going on.

They also agreed to pay the estimated $45 thousand cost to the county of holding the next Measure Z vote in November. Zoo director Scott Barton said they were happy to comply.

Barton explained, "We are in complete agreement on the issues you are discussing now the language addition, the contract change, all of those issues, paying for the election."

With the supervisors desire to scrutinize the zoo apparently satisfied, former Fresno County Supervisor Sharon Levy, who also serves on the zoo's board of directors encouraged the current board to stay positive about the zoo.

Levy said, "I look forward to and hope you will place this ballot measure for the voters to make their voice known, and I'm sure it's going to be a positive one because we look forward to the next many years of continued improvement and I hope you've all been out there with your families."

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