Issues over cost, preventing funding of other services cause of no vote
StoryMetropolitan King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert said that while she has no objection to letting the voters have the final say on the parks levy, she has concerns on the measure as written which will be sent to the ballot by the Council.
The County Council adopted an ordinance sending to the voters on the August ballot a measure on a six-year property tax levy lid lift proposal to raise revenue by 41 percent for the maintenance and operations of the County’s regional park system, as well as acquisition of new trails and open space.
“I love our county parks and my family and I are frequent users,” said Lambert. “But I am concerned that the proposal as written may impede the ability of other junior taxing districts, such as fire and hospital districts, from full funding of their own levies.”
Lambert expressed concern about potential impact to other essential services around the County. This potential impact on junior taxing districts is called levy suppression and is a recent consideration in dealing with state-imposed tax limits.
“County roads and bridges are in a state of severe decline, with the Roads Division indicating many roads are slated to return to gravel and there are numerous bridges in need of repair,” said Lambert. “Public safety continues to be a top priority.”
“Voters will have a choice to increase funding for expansion of our parks system or to preserve tax capacity for other services such as roads, transit, fire and public safety,” said Lambert. “The voters need to be fully informed on the impact of their choice. As currently written, this is an ‘all or nothing’ choice—which, in my mind is not a real choice.”
Lambert said she believes that voters need all the information about this proposed levy, so they can make a wise and informed decision that will maximize their tax dollars.