Councilmember Bagshaw’s Legislative assistant, Alberta Bleck, attended the Magnolia Queen Anne District Council meeting on January 13 in Bayview Manor. Alberta will be contributing her thoughts on this program and others on a semi-regular basis as a guest blogger for Councilmember Bagshaw’s office. If there are any topics you would like to see covered on this blog let us know!
On Monday, January 13 I had the pleasure of attending the monthly Magnolia Queen Anne District Council. The meeting, ably chaired by Lauren Balter, touched upon several important topics affecting the Magnolia and Queen Anne neighborhoods, including a pedestrian zone mapping project, the Parks Legacy Plan, the possible reorganization of District Councils, and several other announcements. A good portion of the meeting was devoted to a presentation on the Parks Legacy Plan and a potential parks funding ballot measure, a topic that has been on our minds for the past several weeks as we field numerous emails, letters, and phone calls on this subject.
Parks Legacy Plan Discussion
Deputy Superintendent of Parks Eric Friedli and Former Parks Deputy Superintendent Ken Bounds provided the group background on the Parks Department’s financial shortfalls, which lie in the areas of operations and management. Funding cuts to Parks in the General Fund, and well as the lack of levy money allocated to addressing operations has left Seattle’s parks with a 267 million dollar deferred maintenance backlog. Several proposals, from a short-term levy to a longer-term solution, have been put forward to address the gap. These ideas included the concept of a Metropolitan Parks District (MPD). The MPD has the advantage of providing a stable source of parks funding, something that has not been achieved with the short-term levies that have funded parks in the past. Additionally, levies have limits on how much they can raise in revenue, while the MPD would have the potential to raise up to 54 million dollars for parks in the future.
This is a topic that both the Parks Legacy Citizens’ Advisory Committee (PLCAC) and Councilmember Bagshaw will investigate in discussions about a possible ballot measure funding Seattle’s parks. No decisions will be made until the PLCAC has submitted their final recommendations, which the Council will weigh heavily in their considerations.
Parks funding will be examined in detail by a Select Committee chaired by Councilmember Bagshaw this year. The first meeting of 2014 Select Committee on Parks Funding was held on Monday, January 27th, and future Committee meetings will take place on Mondays after full council, with two public meetings in the evening (for a detailed schedule of the Select Committee on Parks Funding, please follow this link: http://www.seattle.gov/council/com_assign.htm#parksfunding). These Committee meetings will be an excellent chance for the City Council to hear further input on Parks priorities and funding mechanisms.
How do parks influence your day-to-day life as a Seattle resident? What uses should be prioritized? Join us in our efforts to make parks serve our city effectively and equitably. Call, email, or contact the Bagshaw Office via social media to express your thoughts on an issue that will affect our city for generations to come.