@ Southwest District Council: Citywide campaign to raise $ for ‘aging’ Seattle Parks facilities

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 timmotzer@aol.com

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.

11 Replies to "@ Southwest District Council: Citywide campaign to raise $ for 'aging' Seattle Parks facilities"

  • Rick October 6, 2017 (6:28 am)

    Drip,drip,drip. Eventually you’ll drown. It’s the “It’s only a latte every few weeks” guilt trip. Then every other week,every week,every day. You should be ashamed you can afford such luxuries. Actual accountability and efficiency would lessen the pain but I have no real hopes for that. It’s the nature of the beast. Kind of like Audrey in little shop of Horrors. It all begins with one little drop. If you haven’t seen it,you should. Great movie. 

  • Gene October 6, 2017 (8:02 am)

    Gosh am I getting tired of those words “ just a modest property tax increase “ pretty soon we’ll be moderately taxed right out of our home.

    On the other hand I have always voted for money for our Parks- but that may change as the other day I heard Mayoral candidate Cary Moon say she would support homeless living in our parks” as long as they weren’t doing anything illeagal “ . They would live there until they could be contacted  & helped by social services— uh huh.

    Now someone told me yesterday that Ms. Moon has since gone back on that statement & I hope that’s true- because if our parks become a sanctioned encampment I will not vote to give them more money.

    • WSB October 6, 2017 (9:06 am)

      Just to be clear, this is not a new government proposal, this is a citizens’ group proposal. But it would require City Council (acting as the Park District board) action.

      • flimflam October 6, 2017 (11:35 am)

        again, the parks levy passed not long ago doesn’t cover, you know, the parks?

        • WSB October 6, 2017 (11:57 am)

          The Lake City group that is circulating the petition is proposing that the money from the levy be used for this. That’s what the “Park District” is, the levy passed after the previous parks levy expired.

  • Mark October 6, 2017 (11:40 am)

    Please no new taxes, October 31st is right around the corner, aka 2nd half property tax is due.  And those of you that rent this cost is included in your rent.  When property taxes go up so does your rent

    • Katie October 6, 2017 (12:50 pm)

      Then bring on an income tax. Makes more sense. 

  • linda October 6, 2017 (3:30 pm)

    Personally I would support an income tax if I thought that in exchange our legislators would remove or reduce other taxes (something I just don’t see them doing).  However, I think an income tax is wishful thinking.  The state Supreme Court has consistently ruled that an income tax is unconstitutional.  So the only way to implement an income tax is to amend the state constitution.  And there just isn’t the political will to do that.  All the Seattle City Council accomplished with it’s income tax resolution is to ensure our tax payer money will go to fight a futile court battle instead of something useful like fixing potholes or providing for the homeless.   

    And I’m with others in this thread, please no new property taxes.  Especially since we still have not seen what the new property taxes which are going to be imposed by the state to implement the McCleary decision are going to be set at (we in the Seattle area are going to get hit hard if my reading of the impact is correct).    We talk about how housing is becoming unaffordable in the city of Seattle but seem to be blind to how the property taxes contribute to this issue.  So we keep voting yes for those taxes.  Admittedly, government needs a source of funding.  But I question the need for some of the more recent requests for property taxes which we’ve voted on.   Seems like we vote yes because, gosh that’s a great idea instead of yes because we really need the services which are being promised with the new taxes.  We’re not doing a very good job of balancing needs, wants, taxes and affordability with the result affordability is the loser. 

    I am on the verge of being taxed out of my rental.  My landlords certainly can’t simply absorb the increase, they have to pass it on to my partner and I.  I also have a parent living on retirement income in a house which is fully paid off.  What should have been a source of security in retirement knowing the roof over your head is owned outright has turned into uncertainty due to the increasing property taxes.  My parent may have to sell because the property taxes are unaffordable.   And because my parent did such a good job of saving for retirement, the retirement income is above the level which would qualify for a reduction in the taxes.   So my parent is stuck, not enough retirement income to afford the taxes but too much income for tax relief.  

    So please, no more new property taxes until some of the existing ones expire.



    • The King October 6, 2017 (4:05 pm)

      I’m with you linda, a state income tax would just be piling on to the present burden. Bought my house in 1993, my current monthly property tax bill is only a few years away from what my annual payment used to be. The city was much nicer then too. 

  • wetone October 6, 2017 (4:13 pm)

    Seattle Parks needs better leadership not more money. Money is not the issue, it’s bad management. All to common these days in Seattle  whether SDOT, METRO, SOUND TRANSIT and more. Very little accountablity for money being spent with positive results. More money and more workforce does nothing without good management.  

  • 1994 October 7, 2017 (8:26 pm)

    Working as a social worker in Seattle, 1/9th of my net income is needed to pay my property taxes, The property taxes are hovering around $5000 for my modest 1800 SF home. With the McCleary property taxes expected to kick in,   property taxes will raise yet again. My house is not paid off. I am thinking I need to move somewhere less expensive to live because Seattle only continues to become more expensive for modest wage earners.  People are truly being priced out.

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