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Maple Valley seeks funding to support Ravensdale Park
The city, which has already agreed to give $500,000 to the project, would have to find additional revenue streams to contribute additional funds to the project, but council members said they are committed to providing the youth of Maple Valley with parks.
“I think this is an opportunity for us to move forward,” said Councilman Layne Barnes at the Sept. 9 meeting. “I think the main thing is we’ve got to do something for our youth.”
The plans for Ravensdale Park, which is located outside the city limits of Maple Valley, are laid out in the Ravensdale Park Master Plan and are being overseen by the Ravensdale Park Foundation. The master plan was adopted in 2009 and includes a community meadow and six ballfields designated for baseball, soccer and all purposes uses. Phase one of the master plan was completed in January 2012 which included renovating a pre-existing field.
Phase two of the project, for which the foundation is currently collecting funds, is budgeted to cost $6 million and include adding two multi-use fields, additional parking, restrooms, a concessions stand, play structures, an open area, trails, and maintenance facility. The foundation is receiving funding at the county and state level, as well as funds from the city and multiple private donors. The projected start date for construction on phase two is early 2014.
“We need to find the money,” said Councilman Sean Kelly at the Sept. 9 meeting. “We need to take care of our youth — we’ve neglected them in the past.”
The problem for the city is where to find those funds. The initial $500,000 that the city committed to the project will come from the city’s real estate excise tax and park development funds.
“I think, if you’re serious about entertaining this proposal, you have to create a revenue stream,” City Manager David Johnston told the council. “We’re going to need revenue sources we don’t have right now.”
In a presentation on the city budget by Shawn Hunstock, the city’s finance director, at the same meeting, four potential revenue streams were identified: maximizing property taxes, maximizing utility taxes, implementing a business and occupation tax, and other taxes and fees. The total estimated revenue potential from those revenue streams is approximately $1.46 million annually.
Council discussed the possibility of running a bond measure to support parks or to do a councilmanic bond, which wouldn’t require voter approval. Payments on councilmanic bonds would come from the city’s general revenue fund without raising property taxes. The amount of debt in bonds a city can carry is limited by law to 7.5 percent of the taxable value of the property within the city. Within that, General Purpose bonds are limited to 2.5 percent, and councilmanic bonds to 1.5 percent of the General Purpose bonds, according to the city’s comprehensive plan.
“Parks and fields are highly important,” said Councilwoman Erin Weaver at the meeting. “I fully support more fields, but at what cost?”
Weaver said she would favor a voted bond to pay for parks, to which Councilwoman Johnson concurred.
“We’ve got to know where the money is coming from before we make a commitment to get involved,” Johnson said.
More information about Ravensdale Park can be found at www.ravensdalepark.org.