Your November 7, 2017 General Election ballot will include a proposition by PenMet Parks regarding a “levy lid lift.” Although other jurisdictions have placed levy lid lifts on your ballot in the past, we want to provide to you an explanation of a levy lid lift and how this affects PenMet Parks’ operational and maintenance issues.
In 2004, you approved the formation of the Peninsula Metropolitan Park District (PenMet Parks) and for more than a decade, PenMet Parks has been acquiring, developing, operating and maintaining parks and facilities throughout the community. PenMet Parks has also developed a variety of recreation programs to serve the various populations and interests of the community. An overview of our current parks, facilities and programs is available on our website at www.penmetparks.org.
Our population has been growing at the rate of approximately 2% per year. In order to better understand the present and future demands of our community, we recently conducted a survey requesting information regarding your park and recreation needs. A copy of the survey results is available at www.PenMetParks.org/about/projects-and-updates. The survey respondents asked that PenMet Parks provide additional parks, recreation facilities, more access to Puget Sound, enhanced trails and greenspaces, and recreation programs serving seniors and people in our vulnerable populations.
We continue to seek public input for our planning and as recently as September 19 we conducted a meeting with the public to review PenMet Parks’ progress on its Comprehensive Plan Update. The Comprehensive Plan is intended to guide PenMet Parks’ efforts to provide high quality, community-driven parks, trails and programs. Information regarding the PenMet Parks’ Comprehensive Plan is available at www. PenMetParks.org/about/projects-and-updates.
In addition to our growing population and requests for parks and services, our operational and maintenance costs are increasing at the rate of more than 2% per year. However, PenMet Parks is subject to a 1% “lid” or maximum increase in its annual levy. Consequently, every year on average our population size and the costs of operation are increasing faster than the levy increases. This has resulted in a significant financial imbalance best illustrated by the difference between PenMet Parks’ authorized levy rate and its present effective levy rate.
In 2004 when you approved the formation of PenMet Parks, you approved a property tax levy of $0.75 per $1000 of assessed property value. The 1% per year levy lid has reduced the effective levy rate to about $0.56 per $1000 and that limits PenMet Parks’ ability to provide the facilities and programs requested by the community. If the levy lid lift is approved, the levy rate you authorized in 2004 would be restored for 2018 through 2023, subject to a limit factor for each year. A technical discussion of levy rates can be found at www.PenMetParks.org/about/projects-and-updates.
The additional funds from the annual levy would be used to fund the increasing operational and maintenance costs and to advance the community’s needs and priorities. To better understand how PenMet Parks uses its funds, our 2017 budget can be found here: www.PenMetParks.org/about/projects-and-updates.
We hope you find this information to be helpful. For any questions please email TLee @PenMetParks.org.
2017 Survey Results