Park Board Recommends Metropolitan Park District, Council to Serve as First Commission

The Bonney Lake City Council, if it follows the recommendation of the Park Board, now needs to approve its own resolution requesting a special election in April 2013.

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

DS November 21, 2012 at 03:05 PM
An MPD is dedicated funding that can only be used for parks, this does require a tax for the funding. What say you?
Laurie Carter November 22, 2012 at 03:25 AM
I am a long time supporter of parks. I think we need to move forward to meet not only current but future park needs. The park board asked that a citizen's advisory committee be formed to fine tune projects and their timelines as well the budget projections that would benefit parks under an MPD. This is a great opportunity for citizens to be part of the process. Contact Gary Leaf at 253-447-3282 if you are a park user and are interested in being on the citizen's group. It is important to have a clear understanding of the MPD. The City has set up an informational website, as mentioned in the article. Also, take a look at the Comprehensive Plan, specifically Chapter 6 Parks Element and the Fennel Creek Trail Plan at http://www.ci.bonney-lake.wa.us/section_business/community_development/comprehensive_plans.shtml to see what is needed and what is possible for parks in Bonney Lake.
Fred Jacobsen November 22, 2012 at 04:03 AM
I'm in favor of doing whatever is necessary to get trails built, a community center/YMCA and sports fields made available. If this means paying additional taxes to achieve that goal, I'm in. I hope that many in the community will agree with me and will let the Mayor and Council know that. The Council can be reached at council@ci.bonney-lake.wa.us, or you can attend the Council meeting on Tuesday, 11/27 starting at 7:00 pm in the Justice Center, located at 9002 Main Street.
Tami Cutler November 22, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Why does my family have to pack up our bikes to drive all the way to Buckley or Orting or Algona to find a safe place to ride. We need trails here in Bonney Lake. Let the voters decide.
Fred Jacobsen November 24, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Did I mention that with a deadline of April 13, 2013 for a vote on this issue, if many of us don't let the Bonney Lake Council know now that we're in favor of this issue it may never make it out of discussion. There are at least 3 members on the Council that need to be convinced that this is something the citizens of the city truly want. They've been hearing it for the past 4, or 5, years but they need to hear it again and they need to hear it from lots of us. From a quick check of the data there are approximately 12,000 voters in Bonney Lake, shouldn't we be able to get at least 10% of us to let the Council know that we want a Metropolitan Park District? Thanks for your help!
Winona Jacobsen November 25, 2012 at 12:49 AM
There is a blog on this topic, entitled "The Future of Bonney Lake Parks is in our Hands" by Fred Jacobsen. I hope everyone will read it and comment. People must be willing to at least express their opinion where it counts, if we are to move forward.
John M November 25, 2012 at 03:48 AM
I understand those who are advocating for this have been doing so for nearly a decade, and I for one appreciate their effort. Having said this, has our economy improved so greatly that the voters should pass a tax levy that will increase our property tax? Pierce County has one of the highest foreclosure rates in Washington State, a higher unemployment rate that Snohomish, King, Thurston and Yakima Counties. Real medium income is lower today than in both 2008 and 2009 and per capita per person income is lower today than where we were in 2006. Though my young family is a frequent user of our city parks, raising taxes now to create a Metro Parks District does not seem responsible given where the economy and job market are in Pierce County. I say save the $25,000 it will cost to place this measure on the ballot and place this money in a reserve account or us it to improve on what we already have.
Laurie Carter November 25, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Thanks for the response, John. Consider this. There is already money in the Mayor's 2013-2014 proposed biennial budget being considered by the council for approval. http://bonneylake-sumner.patch.com/articles/biennium-budget The unemployment rate is at 8%, the lowest since the pre 2005-2008 recession years: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/11/20/2374701/pierce-county-jobless-rate-continues.html The city is offering incentives to attaract new businesses, which equals more revenue: http://bonneylake-sumner.patch.com/articles/temporary-waiver-of-impact-fees-and-community-input-to-bolster-bonney-lake-business-recruitment-efforts Bonney Lake is turning the corner on single family building permit: http://www.blscourierherald.com/news/180390271.html That may be due to lowering impact fees earlier in the year: http://www.blscourierherald.com/news/148917215.html?mobile=true We enjoy reduced sales tax as of Oct. 1 because Bonney Lake opted out of the Pierce Transit service district earlier this year: http://bonneylake-sumner.patch.com/articles/sales-tax-decreases-in-bonney-lake-sumner-give-you-another-reason-to-shop-local Median home prices are up: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/business/2012/11/05/home-prices-up-in-pierce-and-thurston-counties-on-shrinking-supply/#storylink=misearch
Laurie Carter November 25, 2012 at 05:40 AM
And a few more considerations.... The last time Bonney Lake attempted a measure to improve parks and trails in Bonney Lake was a bond in 2004. A super majority of 60% was needed, and the final count was 52.3%. http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/1599 If that had been an MPD, which only requires a simple majority, it would have passed and we would be much further with our parks by now, no doubt. http://www.ci.bonney-lake.wa.us/section_government/park_district.shtml On the flip side, the City has saved money with lower construction costs due to the down economy when they go out to bid. And the possibility of lower funding rates, too, due to a good credit rating. Wouldn't it be prudent to take advantage of the low rates to maximize parks in our city? And lastly, would you be willing to pay $10 a month for more parks and trails? Trails to ride bikes and walk and push strollers? A sports complex? An amphitheater to watch plays, see the Reptile Man, listen to concerts? So many possibilities, but we have to start somewhere. And, it tis the season. Looks like this holiday season sales are up: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/black-friday-sales-up-in-united-states-2012-11-24 There are signs of hope after some pretty low times. Again, I appreciate your comments and I look forward to your response and those of others.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »