King County parks levy headed to August primary ballots

Voters will be asked to decide whether to approve the levy on Aug. 6.

A parks and open spaces levy will be presented to King County voters on an Aug. 6 ballot which would raise property taxes for six years.

The proposed levy will ask voters to authorize a levy which is expected to generate about $810 million through an initial levy rate increase of some 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The current median price of a home in the county is about $610,000 amounting to a levy of $102.60 per year, up from the current rate of $77 each year.

The ballot measure was approved by the King County Council at an April 17 meeting.

“Congratulations on this package of legislation — it’s one of the most important things King County does,” council chair Rod Dembowsi said at the meeting.

The ballot measure was approved alongside provisions outlining ways the money would be spent. Up to $8 million from the first four years would go to the Seattle Aquarium’s Ocean Pavilion project. Some 40 percent of the levy would be for maintenance and operations of the county’s parks system, 47 percent for land acquisitions, capital projects and community partnerships and grants. About 8 percent would be distributed to the cities and 5 percent would go to the Woodland Park Zoo for environmental education, conservation of threatened species and climate mitigation for the animals housed there.

The education portion of the Woodland Park Zoo allocation would have an emphasis on the increasing access to the park, open spaces and recreation for disadvantaged groups.

Several trails projects were also earmarked in the proposal. They include $50 million for the Eastside Rail Corridor, $32 million for the East Lake Sammamish Trail, $16 million for the Lake to Sound Trail, $5 million for the Foothills Trail, $9 million for the Green to Cedar Rivers Trail, $5.5 million for the Interurban Trail South, $6 million for the Green River Trail Extension North and $2 million for the Wayne Connector Trail.

While those are earmarked projects, they are also projects the county intends to pursue regardless of whether the levy passes. Another $44 million would go toward parks upgrades, including play area rehabilitation and ballfields turf replacements.

The ordinance would also re-establish a citizen oversight board made up of one member from each of the nine county council districts. Under the current levy, members are serving through the middle of 2020.

The measure states there will be exemptions for low-income people.

“I thank the county councilmembers for their thorough review of my proposal to support and expand our parks and trails system while protecting forests and green space,” King County executive Dow Constantine said in a press release. “The renewed King County Parks Levy would connect and improve regional trails, increase access to green space, and help keep parks clean, safe and open throughout our rapidly growing region.”

More in News

File photo
$30 car tab proposal returns to ballot in November

Tim Eyman-led initiative would restrict car tabs and transportation benefit districts in Washington.

File photo
King County alcohol production ordinance could be approved by year’s end

Update to county code has been more than a year in the making.

Bring Fido and a can of food to support local animal shelters

“You Lucky Dog!” is more than an expression, it’s an event in… Continue reading

Renton Schools Foundation to host gala

To celebrate 10 years and welcome a new executive director, the Renton… Continue reading

Carol Ann Witschi
Witschi’s seat to stay vacant till election

Renton City Council has decided to leave councilmember Carol Ann Witschi’s seat… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Faith-Maria, a third grader at St. Anthony Elementary School in Renton, asked Make-a-Wish to share her wish with her school, which resulted in two new smart boards. Faith-Maria with her family at the unveiling, Sept. 12.
A selfless wish for Renton schools

Faith-Maria Nguyen uses Make-A-Wish to provide school a smart board

Photo by Haley Ausbun. RESP union members attended the Sept. 11 Renton School Board meeting to make their story heard as they continue to negotiate for a new contract with the district.
Union leader: ‘Give us what we deserve’

Update: Paraprofessionals and staff have reached a tentative agreement with the Renton School District

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Photo left to right: David Rodriguez, Tony Ventrella, Rachel Chronister, Marla Veliz, Reagan Dunn, and Gavin Hunt at the Sept. 10 ribbon cutting for the New Horizon School van, gifted by King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn through the retired van program.
County van to increase New Horizon’s inclusivity

A vehicle gifted to a school for students with learning disabilities will support outreach

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Tiffany Park Elementary School teachers and parents hold up signs before the Sept. 11 Renton School Board meeting, over the loss of a fourth grade classroom that reorganized the fourth and fifth graders at the school.
Teacher changes shake up parents’ confidence in Renton schools

A quick staffing change and classroom switch has parents questioning Renton School District

Most Read