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Online Primary Voters' Pamphlet, August 6, 2013

City of Olympia - Proposition No. 1
Formation of the Olympia Metropolitan Park District


Introduction to Local Measures -This page contains a local measure certified to appear on the November 3, 2015 General Election ballot. Only voters residing within the district will be eligible to vote on these measures.

For each measure in the Local Voters’ Pamphlet, the legislative authority of the jurisdiction placing the measure on the ballot is required to formally appoint committees to prepare statements advocating the approval and rejection of the measure. If the jurisdiction is unable to make such appointments, then the Thurston County Auditor advertises for such appointments.

The Auditor’s Office encourages you to thoroughly review all statements and seek additional information from the jurisdictions, the appointed citizens’ committees, and the local and regional media.

Please Note: Statements printed are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for factual or grammatical accuracy by the Auditor’s Office.
  Only voters in Olympia city limits may vote on this measure.  
Ballot Title:

The City of Olympia Proposition Number 1 concerns formation of the Olympia Metropolitan Park District, a metropolitan park district. This proposition creates the Olympia Metropolitan Park District to provide ongoing funding to acquire, maintain, operate and improve parks, Percival Landing, and other recreation facilities and programs. The District has the same boundaries as the City of Olympia, shall be governed by a Board composed of Olympia City Councilmembers, and exercises powers given to metropolitan park districts in state law, including levying property taxes and contracting with the City of Olympia to perform District functions.

Are you:
Oval   For the formation of a metropolitan park district to be governed by the members of the Olympia City Council serving in an ex officio capacity as the Board of Commissioners of the Olympia Metropolitan Park District.
Oval   Against the formation of a metropolitan park district.
Explanatory Statement:

This measure proposes creation of the Olympia Metropolitan Park District (“District”), with the same boundaries as the City of Olympia (“City”). The District would be a distinct municipal corporation with all the powers granted by state law in RCW Chapter 35.61. The District’s governing body would be councilmembers serving on the City Council.

Among the District’s powers is the ability to levy an annual property tax up to a maximum of $0.75 per thousand dollars of assessed value. District revenues would provide ongoing funding to acquire, maintain and improve parks, Percival Landing and other recreation facilities and programs.

When the City approved the ordinance for this ballot proposition, it also approved an ordinance that authorized the Mayor to sign an interlocal agreement with the District, should its creation be approved by voters. Under the proposed agreement, the City would maintain its current percentage of general fund support of the park system. A new citizen advisory committee would be created to advise and provide an annual report to citizens, the City and the District.

Statement For:

We Love Our Parks; Vote Yes
Olympia’s park system, our treasured community asset, needs assistance. As we emerge from the great recession, it is clear we have fallen behind in both essential maintenance and acquisition of parklands. If left unfunded, the maintenance backlog will result in park deterioration and possible closures. The Metropolitan Park District will provide a steady source of funding to maintain our parks and build the new parks we need now and into the future, to serve our growing population.

We Need Upkeep, Acquisition and Accountability
Broad community support exists for conserving LBA Woods, removing the Capitol Center building, investing in preservation of Percival Landing, and completion of Woodland and West Bay trails. We also need additional athletic fields and other amenities for youth and adult recreation, improvements to our trail system, and protection of wildlife habitat. The Metropolitan Park District will raise revenue to support park maintenance, development and acquisition not otherwise feasible. The District will operate with a citizen advisory committee to ensure funds are spent as voters intended.

Creating a Legacy Together
We are faced with a fragile, deteriorating park system that needs our help. By assuring stable, dedicated funding, we will create a legacy to benefit our community for generations to come. Please join in the strong Olympia tradition of supporting valued parks.

Please Vote Yes
Your support for the formation of a Metropolitan Park District will help keep Olympia parks healthy, growing, and well maintained. Because we love our parks, vote yes!

Statement prepared by:
Cristiana Figueroa-Kaminsky, Gerald Reilly, Jim Cooper

Statement Against:

Olympia taxpayers support parks, but not handing over blank checks. Taxpayers currently pay a 3% utility tax dedicated to parks and sidewalks. The Olympia City Council is asking for more, but they won’t tell us what they’re going to spend it on. Will they spend it on maintaining parks we already have, or will they spend all of the money for the next 10 years buying one new park (and which one)? Saying: “vote for this and then I’ll tell you my plan,” isn’t the Olympia way.

Taxpayers were promised 500 acres. In 2004, the City Council promised to buy 500 new acres of parkland if we approved another 2% utility tax for parks. Olympia voters approved the increase and only got 63 acres. Promises and “trust me” won’t work this time. We want specifics, and we want guarantees.

There’s a better way. Thurston County Commissioners asked the Olympia Council to work with them to form a regional parks district. Why? Because parks are used by everybody. People from all over visit Percival Landing. Kids outside of Olympia splash in the Fountain Block during summer and skateboard at Yauger year round. Parks are important. And if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. So let’s work with our partners and share the cost. If they want to chip in, then it’s high time we let them.

No specifics + no past promises kept + no binding guarantees + no discussion of a regional system = vote no!

Statement prepared by:
Karen Rogers, Steve Owens, Conner Edwards

Rebuttal of the Statement For:

We’ve been given a list of expensive projects that the City might do. Stop promising the stars and 500 acres. Start putting together a real business plan of projects that the City will do, and then come back to the voters.

Still no guarantees. Citizen advisory committees advise. They have no authority to “ensure” anything, let alone guarantee. Unfortunately, the Council has a history of dismissing its citizen advisors and breaking past promises. Vote no.

Rebuttal of the Statement Against:

Prop-1 is the citizens’ fix to the 2004 tax measure. The MPD is legally structured with transparency, exceptional accountability, and detail so every penny is used as voters directed. See:

Olympians specify park investments through plan updates. Planning underway features extensive public involvement. MPD boundaries may be expanded anytime it makes financial sense. Olympia must move ahead now to create the quality of life we all want. Our parks need Prop-1. Please vote Yes!

Ballots available beginning October 14, 2015.
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