The Finn Hill Park District Board -- which manages and maintains O.O. Denny Park -- has joined the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance Board in voting to support Proposition 2, the property tax levy that would increase funding for Kirkland parks.
In other developments, explanatory and pro and con statements on Prop. 2 and Prop. 1, a $3 million annual levy for road improvements in Kirkland, have now been posted on the King County Elections web site. In addition, a citizens' group supporting the parks levy is planning a fundraiser on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in Juanita.
On Nov. 6, voters will decide the fate of Prop. 2, which would raise $2.34 million annually to better fund operations, maintenance and renovations of Kirkland's cherished city parks. The proposed levy would cost the owner of a $349,000 home $55.84 annually, at 16 cents per $1,000 of property value, and appears to have strong community support. However, a vocal contingent is arguing against the levy on the grounds that the city already has sufficient revenues and funds in its budget to properly pay for parks, and because of its impact on property owners on fixed incomes.
Park District commissioners said in a press release they supported the levy because it would assure permanent funding of .
“This community stepped up in the past to ensure the survival of this jewel of a park, which was threatened by King County budget cuts. With annexation complete, it is now time to ensure a permanent source of funding for management of this beautiful park asset within Kirkland’s expanded boundaries,” Board Chairman Rick Smith said in a press release. “Proposition 2 will ensure Kirkland Parks has the funding to take on that role permanently. In addition, Proposition 2 will provide funding for future acquisition of new park land in under-served neighborhoods in the annexation areas, such as the east side of Finn Hill.”
The park district was formed in 2002 through the approval of a separate property tax levy of Finn Hill residents after King County closed popular O.O. Denny due to budget cuts. If Prop. 2 passes on Nov. 6, it is anticipated that the park would be taken over by the Kirkland Parks Department and the Finn Hill Park District dissolved. The current Finn Hill parks property tax levy expires in 2014.
The commissioners said they would vote to dissolve the levy in 2013 if Prop. 2 passes and support an orderly transition of O.O. Denny management to Kirkland Parks.
The park board vote comes soon after the board of the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance’s vote of support for Prop. 2, in early October. The alliance board concluded the levy is not only beneficial to Kirkland as a whole but also good for Finn Hill because it generates funding to maintain for O.O. Denny permanently, as well as to acquire new parks for eastern side of Finn Hill.
Meanwhile, the group “Yes! for Great Kirkland Parks” will host a fundraiser in support of Prop. 2 at the Juanita Bay Pub (9736 NE 120 Place) Wednesday evening beginning at 5. A free drink and appetizers will be served and donations will be sought to help pay for signs, mailers and advertising. Participants are asked to RSVP to Sue Contreras at 425-827-6870, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.