Letter: A Vote for the Parks Levy is a Vote for a Better Kirkland

Kirkland's Rick Smith admits higher taxes seem counter-intuitive right now, but weighs the pros and cons and says approval of Proposition 2 is necessary to maintain parks and quality of life.



Many letters have been published in these pages both for and against Kirkland Proposition 2, Levy for City Parks Maintenance, Operation and Enhancement.  I confess that I share some of the concerns with those speaking against.  Higher city taxes now seem counter-intuitive.  However, after consideration of both the pros and the cons, I have to side with those supporting this levy.

The facts are that the recent economic slump caused a significant squeeze in tax revenues for the city.  The City Council acted responsibly in preserving essential services such as police and fire protection, but this budgetary triage necessarily caused “non-essential” budget items such as parks to suffer.  Tax revenues have been slow to recover, and our parks can no longer stand the reduced services and capital investment that these budget cuts have caused.

Yes, I wish the City Council could “find” the funds to restore parks funding to its pre-recession level, but this is unlikely for the foreseeable future.  In the meantime, our parks, our quality of life, and our property values will suffer.  Proposition 2 funding can only be used for park maintenance and capital investment, and cannot be subsumed into the general fund for other purposes.  The annual cost is a modest $55 per year for a $346K house, the median value in Kirkland, and even smaller ($35 per year) for Finn Hill residents because it will allow the current Finn Hill Park and Recreation District levy to be retired.

We all know that our parks are a significant contributor to our quality of life in Kirkland.  They’re one of the reasons we choose to live here.  But their value is monetary as well as aesthetic.  It is well known that attractive, well maintained parks improve real estate values in their area.  Say you own the median home; don’t you think it likely that more and better-maintained parks will add more than $550 (0.2%) to the value of your home if you sell it in, say, 10 years?  A vote for Proposition 2 is a vote for a better Kirkland, and a good investment.  I suggest you vote your lifestyle AND your pocketbook.  Vote “Yes” for Proposition 2.

-Rick Smith, Kirkland

Robert L. Style November 04, 2012 at 04:49 PM
How do you explain the increase in revenues from last year's budget? The City is not broke with more money in the budget than they've ever had before. I would suggest that the writer run for office on his lack of fiscal responsibility. Would he fund roads and parks before spending the money on something else? I doubt it. Bob Style
Kristen Mazur Lloyd November 04, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Dear Robert You clearly have more insight into Kirkland Council's budget that i do. It is most likely they can allocate money better and possible toward parks. That said, i am still voting YES on 2, because I want to ensure Kirkland's parks are kept up for future generations and voting for my tax money to go directly for parks is well worth the investment for me. Kristen Lloyd


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