Will you support a Metropolitan Park District to raise extra tax $ for city parks, instead of a levy?

Tacoma has one, and now it looks like Seattle voters will be asked if they want a Metropolitan Park District too. The citizens’ advisory committee that’s been working on the next parks-funding measure to send to Seattle voters is recommending creating a district with its own authority to raise money via new taxes, instead of sending voters another multi-year levy (the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy was the last one). The committee’s vote last night was 11-1. Our partners at The Seattle Times have meeting details here; you can read the rationale behind the recommendation in this document from the meeting, starting with Item 7. If this proposal had been in effect this year, it would have cost the owner of a $400,000 home about $168, according to the document.

WHAT’S NEXT: The City Council will be asked next month to approve the district, and then it would be up to voters, likely in August, to give final approval. If a district is created, councilmembers would double as the district’s board.

15 Replies to "Will you support a Metropolitan Park District to raise extra tax $ for city parks, instead of a levy?"

  • Wendi February 28, 2014 (11:55 am)

    Washington needs to institute a state income tax to generate new revenue and end the let’s tax anything and everything initiatives that seem to be consistently underfunded, mismanaged or misdirected. I will vote no on this measure. Everyone should be responsible for paying for parks because they are open to the public. Not just home owners.

  • Joe Szilagyi February 28, 2014 (11:55 am)

    Yes, as long as both of these true:
    #1: The current parks funding outside of the Metropolitan Park District stays as-is as a proportion/percentage of our general budget moving forward. If it’s 5% today, it’s at least 5% ten years from now and the City Council/Mayor are restricted from cutting back on that commitment.
    #2: The Metropolitan Park District is supplemental income and firewalled into the Parks department exclusively–it cannot go anywhere else.

  • DTK February 28, 2014 (12:15 pm)

    I need to buy one of those wallets with a chain connecting it to my belt loop.

  • blockedpunt February 28, 2014 (12:35 pm)

    I will be voting no, but it doesn’t matter; Seattle voters…renters…never met a property levy they didn’t like. The politicians love the levy referendums, because they actually get to avoid having to raise new revenues in their official capacity. And in 10 years, we will be asked to increase the levy because the money will have been mismanaged.

  • zark00 February 28, 2014 (1:06 pm)

    NO NO AND NO!!!!
    This one is worse than most, once again digging into homeowners pockets to pay for things they know should be paid for by everyone.
    Not trying to raise the sales tax are they? Yeah because they know it wont pass.
    This is so lame I can’t believe Seattle is once again discouraging buying a home – we have the most short sighted city managers/planners in the country.

  • Mark Ahlness February 28, 2014 (1:06 pm)

    On the Metropolitan Park District – no way. The “other” side of the story will be coming soon. A complex issue, people really need to be well informed to vote wisely on this one. It’s not all about taxes…

  • Ray February 28, 2014 (1:24 pm)

    1. Do not presume that you know what is right and that we should resort to an income tax. We have much we can cut before EVER considering more taxes.

    While the parks are open to all, only a few use them. While I absolutely love our park system and do fully support it and use it, we really should move to a pay-as-you-use-it system. I am on board for this.

    We are already subsidizing a whole heck of a lot of other peoples benefits in this town – metro, tolling, etc. It has to stop somewhere.

    All in my opinion.

  • ScubaFrog February 28, 2014 (1:42 pm)

    I’m voting NO. Government from the local, to the national level have overtaxed us – and now we’re 17 TRILLION dollars in debt – because they can’t (and won’t) manage OUR money properly. I recognize that local taxes have nothing to do with national debt, my vote’s symbolic.

    Until there’s massive government reform at every level, I’ll keep voting NO on new taxes, and I’ll keep trying to vote the incumbents out.

  • Gene February 28, 2014 (1:42 pm)

    NO-NO-NO! Implement a user fee if necessary- tired of so much falling on property owners. But for State & City & County no doubt much easier to just increase taxes on what folks already own than put some sort of user fee in place.

  • dsa February 28, 2014 (4:13 pm)

    I’ll vote against every councilperson who votes to put this on the ballot.

  • D.D.S. February 28, 2014 (9:25 pm)

    The first mistake is assuming seattle voters are well informed and wise. Seattle voters will pull the YES lever on anything.

  • DarkHawke March 1, 2014 (4:58 am)

    @D.D.S. – There is one exception to that rule: the 10-cent/latte for education tax that they tried to float back in the ’90s. Seemed like a no-brainer, and I’m sure the proponents of the issue thought that they could use education as a way to tack an extra 10 pennies on to your coffee beverage of choice, but it proved to be a tax too far even for this city. Better to sneak these things in as tenth-of-a-cent sales tax increases that mount up before you know it, or property levies that all the renters never see…until someone starts caterwauling about the high rents.

    This tax-and-spend thing is what makes a city more and more expensive to live in and forces the poor folks out. Eventually you get like Detroit and the whole thing collapses. Not to say we’re there yet, but add this park obsession to the Metro money we’re expected to fork over AND this preposterous $15/hour minimum wage?! Can we please hit the brakes now? Pretty dang soon there isn’t going to be any more road.

  • blazer March 1, 2014 (8:20 am)

    Was at the park by Ballard community center and watched a guy in a brand new Ford work truck drag raking the baseball diamond in nice circular designs, and was thinking, don’t they have better things to do? Why all the new trucks? Don’t they have their own mechanics in house? Or do they just buy a new truck when the brakes get old?

  • A.J. March 1, 2014 (7:00 pm)

    Remember that the mayor is going to raise all salaries in the city to a minimum of $15 an hour. This will raise the cost of taking care of parks. No thanks.

    Also, there are many states with an income tax that still have revenue problems. It is not a panacea. I suggest to move to a state that will tax your income if you think it is so great.

  • Au March 3, 2014 (8:51 am)

    A couple of things. One, I feel the Parks dept needs a thorough audit. Why? Remember the fiasco with the zipline in Lincoln Park. Parks spent $60,000 to woe a company in the UK to come into our parks. That doesn’t seem right. Two, all those advocating a pay per use fee, even if you don’t go to the park you are using it. How? Those lovely 100 year old trees that the Olmsted Brothers so thoughtfully planted sequester carbon and release oxygen, helping to clean up our air pollution. So, unless you have found a way to exist without oxygen then you do use the park, just indirectly. And what about the fact that the parks are home to wildlife, song birds, raptors, mammals..
    Three, stop trying to pit renters against homeowners. Just stop. Lastly, four, I cannot see any link between a $15 minimum wage and the cost of park maintenance increasing. When I worked for the city oh so many years ago, I was paid $14.75/hr so I imagine that those working in the Parks Dept are already making $15/hr or more so no they won’t be getting any sort of raise.

    Some of these comments on here saddens me, what an uncivil lot we’ve become! Saying we should pay extra money just to be outside in a bit of nature. The money we do pay needs to be managed better, not us paying more and more and more.
    Oh how about Boeing’s tax refund, nice huh? Perhaps this is more of the problem than city works being able to make a living wage.

    We need to stop blaming each other and get to the root of the problem.

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