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Citizen task force recommends continued levy support of King County parks, trails, open space
King County Parks Levy Task Force Force unanimously recommended a levy that could generate approximately $60.9 million annually over a six-year period, based upon a total rate of 19.01 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value to fund:
- Operations and maintenance of King County’s 200 parks, 175 miles of regional trails and 26,000 acres of open space;
- Infrastructure investments, including major repair of trail bridges and historic facilities and expanded access to some 8,400 acres of park lands for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding;
- Open space acquisition and protection;
- Regional trail development, including the Lake to Sound Trail through five south King County cities;
- · Capital improvements and infrastructure repair of local parks systems in King County’s 39 cities; and
- Operations, maintenance, environmental education, and capital improvements at the Woodland Park Zoo.
The Task Force looked at the Parks and Recreation Division’s current inventory and operations, levels of service, and critical infrastructure priorities, as well as at the recreation needs of King County’s growing population.
The panel concluded that the County should ask voters to renew support for parks and trails through a property tax levy lid lift.
In 2007, King County voters approved two parks-related levies: One to support operations and maintenance of King County’s parks and trails, and one to support open space protection and regional trail development for the County and its 39 cities, as well as operations, programs and capital improvements at Woodland Park Zoo.
The levies passed by 63 percent and 59 percent, respectively.
The Task Force’s recommendations will help inform Executive Constantine’s funding proposal for the future of King County’s parks, trails, and open space. His proposal is expected to be forwarded to the King County Council early next year.
Coming from all parts of the county, the 22-member Task Force represented a diversity of interests and perspectives, including recreation groups, community-based organizations, environmental groups, and land use and parks and recreation professionals.
They worked from June to November 2012, using a consensus-based, decision-making approach to develop recommendations. The Task Force report and roster can be found at http://www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/about/levy.aspx.