The Bonney Lake Park Board made formal recommendations at its meeting Monday night for the City Council to move forward with placing the issue of forming a metropolitan park district (MPD) to voters in an April 2013 special election.
Such an MPD, overseen by a commission, would be dedicated to establishing and maintaining a robust parks system in the city. Last year, the city adopted a new parks and recreation plan which indicated several park needs were not being met.
Following many months of gathering public input on what parks amenities citizens would like to have in Bonney Lake - trails, ball fields and a community center being top options - board members on Monday decided an MPD would be the best mechanism to bring such amenities about.
The board also recommended that the commission start with current councilmembers serving on its commission. The advantage here, in part, is that there would not be the start-up cost of installing new commissioners to the new district if it were approved.
The funding mechanism for sustaining the district has not yet been finalized. The city of Bonney Lake has supplied a park proposal information page on its website that outlines what bond levy finance options are possible and what bond amounts they are considering - everything from $5 million in 20 years to $15 million in 20 years.
In considering the best approach to bring the MPD proposals for voter approval, the board widened its discussion to consider various parks funding scenarios from other municipalities.
It held up Kirkland's recent success in (likely) passing a property tax levy that would increase funding for Kirkland parks. Though Nov. 6 elections have not yet been certified, the relevant proposition has a substantial lead. (See Kirkland Patch's coverage of the issue).
Board member Jaime Trejo dissented with the board's recommendations to Council. "The atmosphere right now does not support it," he said. "It would be a loss of time and money right now to do it."
To preserve the recommendations and input the city has already heard from citizens as well as to advocate for them, the board further recommended Council establish a citizens' advisory committee to guide the process of placing the MPD question on the ballot in April.
Members agreed that voters would be more likely to support the MPD if a clearer parks plan were presented on what the funds collected would be used for (see past coverage of parks summits below).
The board and the city have a tight time frame in which to pursue the April 2013 ballot measure. The deadline to submit a ballot resolution to Pierce County is March 8. Before then, the city needs to approve its own resolution requesting the special election, and for/against committees need to be formed.
Visit the city of Bonney Lake Park Proposal Information Page
Read More on Patch:
$5.2 Million Shaved from Bonney Lake's Work-in-Progress Parks Plan, Sept. 28, 2012
, July 30, 2012
, May 16, 2012
, May 10, 2012
BONNEY LAKE PARKS PART III: What Voters Could See on the Ballot in 2013, May 7, 2012
May 3, 2012
May 1, 2012