King County Council. From left: Joe McDermott, Pete von Reichbauer, Reagan Dunn, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Larry Gossett, Rod Dembowski, Dave Upthegrove, Kathy Lambert and Claudia Balducci.

King County Council. From left: Joe McDermott, Pete von Reichbauer, Reagan Dunn, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Larry Gossett, Rod Dembowski, Dave Upthegrove, Kathy Lambert and Claudia Balducci.

King County Council gives the go-ahead for parks levy

Voters will be asked to decide whether to approve the levy on Aug. 6.

A parks and open spaces levy will be presented to King County voters on an Aug. 6 ballot which would raise property taxes for six years.

The proposed levy will ask voters to authorize a levy which is expected to generate about $810 million through an initial levy rate increase of some 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The current median price of a home in the county is about $610,000 amounting to a levy of $102.60 per year, up from the current rate of $77 each year.

The ballot measure was approved by the King County Council at an April 17 meeting.

“Congratulations on this package of legislation — it’s one of the most important things King County does,” council chair Rod Dembowsi said at the meeting.

The ballot measure was approved alongside provisions outlining ways the money would be spent. Up to $8 million from the first four years would go to the Seattle Aquarium’s Ocean Pavilion project. Some 40 percent of the levy would be for maintenance and operations of the county’s parks system, 47 percent for land acquisitions, capital projects and community partnerships and grants. About 8 percent would be distributed to the cities and 5 percent would go to the Woodland Park Zoo for environmental education, conservation of threatened species and climate mitigation for the animals housed there.

The education portion of the Woodland Park Zoo allocation would have an emphasis on the increasing access to the park, open spaces and recreation for disadvantaged groups.

Several trails projects were also earmarked in the proposal. They include $50 million for the Eastside Rail Corridor, $32 million for the East Lake Sammamish Trail, $16 million for the Lake to Sound Trail, $5 million for the Foothills Trail, $9 million for the Green to Cedar Rivers Trail, $5.5 million for the Interurban Trail South, $6 million for the Green River Trail Extension North and $2 million for the Wayne Connector Trail.

While those are earmarked projects, they are also projects the county intends to pursue regardless of whether the levy passes. Another $44 million would go toward parks upgrades, including play area rehabilitation and ballfields turf replacements.

The ordinance would also re-establish a citizen oversight board made up of one member from each of the nine county council districts. Under the current levy, members are serving through the middle of 2020.

The measure states there will be exemptions for low-income people.

“I thank the county councilmembers for their thorough review of my proposal to support and expand our parks and trails system while protecting forests and green space,” King County executive Dow Constantine said in a press release. “The renewed King County Parks Levy would connect and improve regional trails, increase access to green space, and help keep parks clean, safe and open throughout our rapidly growing region.”

More in News

The 2015 Wolverine Fire in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest near Lake Chelan. Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
The smoky summer that wasn’t

While Washington had a mild season, wildfires burned near the Arctic.

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, Mayor John Marchione, APA Washington Incoming President Nancy Eklund, and Senator Patty Murray’s Chief of Staff, Mindi Linquist at the Cleveland Street’s National Recognition on Oct. 10. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Cleveland Street recognized as a ‘Great Street in America’

The Cleveland Street project was part of a 20-year vision for downtown Redmond in efforts to turn the neighborhood into an urban center.

Dane Scarimbolo and Dominique Torgerson run Four Horsemen Brewery in Kent. They were almost shut down in late 2017 by King County, which after years of letting them operate a brewery and taproom, decided they were in violation of county code. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Proposed winery ordinance irks King County farmers, neighbors and businesses

Concerns include more traffic, higher land prices, code enforcement and compliance.

The indoor batting cages will be located at Redmond Ridge Park at 22915 NE Alder Crest Drive. The facility will include 3 lanes for the batting cages. Photo courtesy of King County
King County agrees for construction of indoor batting cage facility at Redmond Ridge Park

The ordinance authorizes for a five-year use agreement between King County and Redmond North Little League.

Steve Fields and Angela Birney answer questions at the candidate forum hosted by Education Hill Neighborhood Association (EdHNA) at First Baptist Church on Oct. 3. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
Birney and Fields discuss transportation, growth and more in Redmond

The forum was held at First Baptist Church last Friday.

Redmond man’s guns seized after police alerted to concerning posts

He has a history of allegedly making online threats toward women.

Balducci runs against Hirt for District 6 county council seat

The former Bellevue mayor is essentially running unopposed.

Carson and Jimenez seek Redmond city council pos. 7

Candidates share their views on affordable housing, traffic, budget priorities and city character.

Most Read