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Letter: Props 1 & 2 Are Not Necessary for Good Parks

Kirkland Resident Bob Style says a no vote on the parks and roads levies will force the City Council to use the money already available for the needed improvements.

 

Dear Editor,

Did the City Council envision the additional $10 million cost to tax payers for Juanita improvements?

Why are Kirkland’s citizens alone bearing the full load to pay for Juanita Park, a regional park used by everyone in the surrounding area who do not contribute to the cost?

Did the Council envision locked doors at Kirkland's parks?

Did the Council envision the need for Volunteers to make up for the shortfall in park maintenance?  Our cost for parks has exceeded our ability to maintain them.  We are already overextended.

The Council is ignoring the citizen survey that said we should pay for the Cross Kirkland Trail by prioritizing the park system expenditures so that we don't raise taxes.

Did the Council envision reduced garbage pickup?   If the Council thought so highly of our park system, why then have they chosen to spend their money on something other than parks?  Their spending priorities come at a cost of our park system.

Each year the Council gives outside agencies $3 million dollars of our money in addition to the $12 million dollars surplus they've averaged per year for the last 20 years.  And yet, with a $95 million shortfall in staff generated unfunded needs in Capital facilities, the Council continues to give away our money, money that makes Prop 1 & 2 levies unnecessary. 

Props 1 & 2 shows the Council has failed to meet the needs of the City. They have not been responsible.

A NO vote will restore Council responsibilities and force them to use the money they already have to improve parks, roads, and pedestrian facilities without raising taxes and reducing our quality of life.

-Robert L. Style, Kirkland

Trent Latta September 26, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Robert, As roads and parks decay, the cost of repairing them grows exponentially. For example, preserving a road’s quality with regular maintenance is far (far!) less expensive than having to rebuild an entire road that has fallen into despair. Generating regular revenue through Proposition 1 & 2 for our parks and roads will allow the City to make preemptive repairs in a cost-effective manner rather than having to delay maintenance at the taxpayers later expense. Besides, our City Council has been entirely responsible with its spending. In fact, Kurt Triplett – Kirkland’s City Manager – during a recent presentation I attended explained that the City is making cuts across the board in every department. And anyone who has severed on a City Board knows that the City is making dire fiscal changes in response to the 2008 collapse. Trent
bigyaz September 26, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Robert L. Style: still living in the 50s.
Margaret Wiggins September 27, 2012 at 08:47 AM
Really, Yaz, was the Cross Kirkland Trail, (aka railroad track with several major road crossings with no safety features for pedestrians,) part of the '50s park plan? Or are you saying that Mr Style is the only one who ever questioned the needs of the city staff to provide the quality of life you expect for your taxes? And.... if you aren't paying enough, and things aren't green enough for you... there are higher price areas around that would love to have your money. Some of us considered Kirkland "affordable" for working families when we moved here in the '70s. When did that change?
Margaret Wiggins September 27, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Juanita Beach, my most visited park, just underwent a two year remodel, two years because the contractor went out of business and a new one had to be found to finish the job. So what does that tell us? That Kirkland is still spending money on parks upkeep, and that business is bad, even with a government contract they went out of business. What exactly did the city manager say he "cut" from the budget? "Across the board" is just a bit vague.... And isn't it the responsibility of our city council to prioritize when the economy takes a downturn? Or are they there to "find new money" for their staff so no one gets laid off? But if they want to kick it to us to vote in November, then we can always kick it back by voting no.
Shelley Kloba November 02, 2012 at 09:36 AM
It is still affordable for working families. According to CityData.com, the median household income in Kirkland was $78,980 in 2009. And the median income for families wih no earners was $51,293. Kirkland is a great place to live, with folks from all levels of income living here and enjoying a wonderful city. The park levy will fund the upgrades necessary to make the former railroad track into a very useful transit corridor. It connects 3 commercial centers along with parks and schools. Mr. Style has repeatedly complained about the traffic volumes on our main north-south corridors, especially Lake Washington Blvd. The former Burlington Northern rail line will provide an almost parallel alternative route for pedestrians and cyclists, and perhaps someday rail or another rapid transit mode. It is a wise investment in the city's infrastructure needs. Vote Yes for Prop 2!
Shelley Kloba November 02, 2012 at 10:05 AM
In response to Mr. Style's first comment about Kirkland residents not being able to share the cost of operating Juanita Beach Park with ALL of its users, even those who come here from outside of Kirkland: I am sure that Mr. Style is neglecting to consider that folks who come to use this park are highly likely to stop at one of the fine restaurants, coffee shops, or fro yo merchants located a stone's throw from the park in Juanita Village. Or perhaps they fuel up their car at the local gas stations in Juanita, or run in to the Walgreen's to purchase items like suntan lotion, snacks, and beverages. Or maybe they rent a stand up paddle board from the vendor right there in the park. With a great park that draws people from all over the region, it stimulates business, thus sales, thus sales tax revenue, which has been sorely lacking these last few years. Keeping our parks clean, safe, and attractive will continue to bring visitors who spend money here, thus "paying their share" of the use of the parks. Also, just curious, does Mr. Style write a check to the communities outside of Kirkland whose parks he uses, "contributing to the cost" of running them since he doesn't pay property tax there?

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