By Marika Lee
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The main presentation at last night’s Southwest District Council meeting was by a visitor from the other side of the city, circulating a petition to support funding for aging Seattle Parks facilities citywide.
“It is a modest increase in property taxes but we feel with the money that is going to be generated over the next three years, if used properly, will provide some tangible benefits,” said Tim Motzer, who spoke to SWDC about the petition sponsored by the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance.
The petition is urging the Board of Commissioners of the Seattle Park District – in other words, the Seattle City Council – to maintain the current park district assessment rate of 27.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for the remaining three years of the Park District’s six-year spending plan. That would increase tax collections in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
“We can generate about $26 million and that revenue along with other sources from the city would allow us to fully fund the eight community centers,” said Motzer, a retired Parks worker.
Last year’s Community Center Strategic Plan, which was mandated by the City Council, found that Lake City Community Center, Green Lake Community Center, and Evans Pool need to be replaced, which would cost $41.5 million. The Hiawatha, South Park, Jefferson, Loyal Heights, Magnolia, and Queen Anne community centers all need renovations that will total $21 million. And Motzer said some facilities not included in the study need help too.
The petition asks for a dedicated line item in the park district budget for the replacement of aging park facilities, with an initial emphasis on community centers.
“We feel that our 27.5-cent solution is the way to go. Yes, it will increase the spending of the park district. Yes, there will be a slight increase in property tax,” Motzer said. For a $722,000 home, for example, he said, the property taxes would increase by about $50 by 2021.
“We feel like for that modest tax increase, the benefit, not only improving community centers now, but for aging facilities in the future, outweighs that small cost,” Motzer said. He encouraged community members to sign the online version of the petition here, and attend the city council meetings to voice their support.
Pete Spalding, who represents the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce on SWDC, said sending emails to city council is also effective for those who cannot attend the meeting.
For more information about the Funding Aging Park Facilities petition, contact Tim Motzer at firstname.lastname@example.org
New SWDC Leadership
The Southwest District Council also discussed its leadership for the upcoming year.
David Whiting from the Admiral Neighborhood Association and Eric Iwamoto, from the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Coalition are stepping down as co-chairs. Vicki Schmitz Block from the Fauntleroy Community Association, SWDC secretary, is also stepping down.
Amanda Sawyer from the Junction Neighborhood Organization and Tamsen Spengler from the Morgan Community Association both stepped up as co-chair nominees. Whiting said the vote would take place at the next meeting. Iwamoto said another member had expressed interest about serving as secretary.
The Southwest District Council meets first Wednesdays, 6:30 pm, at the Senior Center/Sisson Building in The Junction.