A reminder that the Edmonds City Council is looking for community members willing to serve on a Metropolitan Park District Exploratory Committee.
The commitee, which will be led by Councilmember Frank Yamamoto with support from Councilmember Diane Buckshnis, will be charged with gathering information about the pros and cons of forming a Metropolitan Park District, re-examining needs and priorities of the Edmonds Parks and Recreation system, developing public outreach strategies such as citizen surveys and town hall meetings, and preparing recommendations for Council consideration.
The committee will meet during May and June, and will make a recommendation to City Council in July 2012. If the City Council were to consider placing this on the November ballot, a ballot measure would need to be filed in August.
The first two Exploratory Committee meetings have been scheduled for May 7 and 23 from 6-8 p.m. in the second floor Edmonds Library Plaza Room (650 Main Street); the public is welcome to attend.
Anyone interested in serving on the committee can apply on the city’s website or pick up an application at City Hall or the Frances Anderson Center. For more information, contact Carrie Hite, Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 425-771-0230.
one possible tool that could help balance the budget, and secure dedicated funding for the much loved flower baskets, Yost pool, recreation programs, Senior Center, and parks among other areas.
A Metropolitan Park District can be formed for the management, control, improvement, maintenance, and acquisition of parks, parkways, and recreational facilities. If formed as a Citywide MPD, a City Council serves as the governing body. First, an MPD must be voter approved and pass with a simple majority. MPDs allow jurisdictions to levy up to $.75 per $1,000 assessed value. At the maximum levy rate, this would cost a homeowner, with an average home value of $350,000, approximately $21 per month.
The Parks budget has been struggling since 2009. This can be evidenced by declining Parks Capital improvement fund and fund balances as a result of decreasing Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) and the Cemetery funds. For example, in 2006-2009, the average annual REET revenue was $3.5 Million. In 2010-2011, the average was $500,000. This reduction in revenue has resulted in an unprecedented drop in ongoing maintenance levels of our parks system. The City has responded in a number of ways to balance the budget such as increasing revenue options, including non-resident fees, concessions in parks; renegotiating instructor contracts; hiring
less seasonal staff; and relying on residents to help with Parks projects. Despite these efforts, residents may experience parks that are less attractive, and there is increasing concern that the impacts of deferring maintenance will soon become more visible and in the long run, more costly to address.
As the City faces a projected deficit in 2013, there is little to cut within the Parks and Recreation budget without impacting service levels. Providing a dedicated fund for Parks, similar to what’s been created in Bainbridge Island, Des Moines, Tacoma, Pullman, etc., would help maintain the same service level citizen’s currently enjoy, while alleviating some of the burden on the City’s general fund. This would also help curb service level cuts in parks as well as other areas, such as police and public works.
There are exciting opportunities that could be explored with the formation of an MPD. The City’s previous feasibility study for an expanded aquatic complex at Yost pool is of high interest in the community. Discussions with the School District in regard to adding soccer fields at old Woodway High School, and the renovation of Civic Stadium are also starting to gain interest. The City is conducting a feasibility study on next steps to rehabilitate Edmonds Marsh. In addition, the city’s long partnership with the Senior Center could benefit with increased funding for much needed capital needs.
The City Council has decided to form an MPD Exploratory Committee which will be led by Councilmember Frank Yamamoto with support from Councilmember Diane Buckshnis. The Committee will be charged with gathering information about the pros and cons of forming a Metropolitan Park District; re-examining needs and priorities of the Edmonds Parks and Recreation system; developing public outreach strategies such as citizen surveys and town hall meetings; and preparing recommendations for Council consideration.
The Committee will meet during the months of May and June, and will make a recommendation to City Council in July, 2012. If the City Council were to consider placing this on the November ballot, a ballot measure would need to be filed in August.
The first two meetings for the MPD Exploratory Committee have been scheduled for May 7 and 23 from 6:00- 8:00 p.m. in the 2nd floor Edmonds Library Plaza Room (650 Main Street); the public is welcome to attend.
If anyone is interested in serving on the committee, there is an application on the city’s website www.edmondswa.gov , or for pick-up at City Hall or the Frances Anderson Center. For further information, please contact Carrie Hite, Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services Director, at email@example.com, or 425-771-0230.