Taxpayers group urges passage of parks district levy

By Meg Olson

The board of directors of the Point Roberts Taxpayers Association have voted unanimously to endorse and support passage of the Point Roberts Park and Recreation District maintenance and operations levy to assure continued funding
of the district.

Park and recreation districts do not have permanent levies, as do most tax districts in Washington. Rather, they must seek voter approval for a new maintenance and operations property tax levy every six years. Since 2012, the Point Roberts Park and Recreation District has operated on a levy of up to 8.4 cents per $1,000 property valuation, or about $50,000.

Keeping with longstanding tradition, the district has not sought funding for any staff support, other than the secretary/bookkeeper, who only works a couple of days per month. All of the day-to-day management and support has been provided by volunteer park commissioners.

The proposed levy for the next six years, 2018-2023, would allow the district to hire a part-time manager to assist the commissioners. It would also fund various deferred, essential maintenance projects, in particular, septic and seismic upgrades at the community center and improvements at Baker Field, as well as expansion of direct recreational program support by the park district.

Taxpayer association chair Mark Robbins said, “To be sure, the proposed levy represents a big increase percentagewise, from about 8.4 cents to 21.5 cents per $1,000 valuation. But the absolute amounts are really pretty small. On an average home valued at $200,000, the annual tax bite will be about $43. Just think about how valuable and central the community center is to the life of the community. It absolutely needs to be maintained and even upgraded. Otherwise, there will be no seniors lunch program, no library, no meeting space, etc.”

On behalf of the Point Roberts Taxpayers Association, Robbins urged voters to turn out for the November 7 election, since passage of the levy will require an affirmative vote of 60 percent with a minimum voter turnout of 40 percent of those who voted at the last general election, which was a presidential election with a  high turnout.

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