When it comes to funding a future Park District in Bonney Lake, the city has identified one main source – the pocketbooks of its citizens. An estimated $32 million through a voter bond or levy is needed to fulfill the city’s parks plan.
( of our series gives an overview of the city parks plan. examined what that really means for the city, in terms of a recreation center/YMCA, ball fields and Fennel Creek trail development.)
Because the cost of putting a bond on the ballot will cost the city between $15,000 to $20,000 from the general fund alone, the Bonney Lake city council wants citizen feedback on what option is most attractive to voters.
Tell the council what you think at tonight's , 6 p.m. at the
“Existing funding sources are less than 20 percent of what we need to complete the elements of the Park Plan,” said facilities and operations manager Gary Leaf. “We’ve basically come up with three main options for voters.”
The options include:
- A newly-created Metropolitan Park District, approved by voters.
- Voter bond, approved by voters
- A special levy approved by voters
- New grants (which the city admits are few)
Metropolitan Park District
Voters could approve the creation of a Metropolitan Park District, which would oversee all park plans and make decisions on maintaining parks, trails, recreation facilities and programming. The MPD has the greatest favor with the city council and only requires a simple 50 percent majority to pass, said Leaf. The property tax levy may be used to pay for ongoing facilities and maintenance costs.
The disadvantage of an MPD would be the creation of a new taxing-entity.
The MPD board would be a municipal corporation with city councilmembers serving as board members.
If the city council was to establish itself as the elected board of the park district, a city employee would be designated to run it.
An MPD cannot impose a park fee but the city could collect impact fees on its behalf.
Voted Park Bond
The Voted Park Bond option is similar to how school districts are funded and would only require a one-time cost for specific facilities.
The disadvantage is a 60 percent majority vote is needed to pass it, plus a price cap – the maximum voted bond amount allowed would be $50 million. Plus, a new funding source for ongoing maintenance costs would need to be created.
A Special Levy could be used for capital or ongoing maintenance expenses, but also requires a 60 percent supermajority. This option is used mainly when revenues cannot keep up with ongoing maintenance expenses.