I am adding my voice to the brave Kirkland citizens who are speaking out against Prop 1 and funding the Aquatic Recreation Center (ARC). I will be voting "NO" on Prop 1 and against funding the ARC. These are the reasons I will be voting "NO":
1. It is too expensive. Let's Keep Kirkland Affordable by not agreeing to fund this expensive and permanent luxury project.
Funding the ARC will cost each property owner 75 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value. This additional property tax is permanent; it never goes away; it will go up as your property value goes up. This means:
If your home is valued at $300,000, you will pay up to $225 per year, on top of your existing property tax bill, forever.
If your home is valued at $500,000, you will pay up to $375 per year on top of your existing property tax bill, forever.
At $750,000 of value, you will pay $562.50/year.
At $1,000,000, of value, you will pay $750/year.
At $1,500,000 of value, you will pay $1,125/year.
The amount you pay will increase as your property value increases. Many of us find our homes going up in assessed value and our property taxes going up. This is beyond our control. For families who want to live in Kirkland permanently, higher and higher property taxes are making it unaffordable.
This tax will affect renters and tenants as well as property owners. Property owner costs will go up and those costs will be passed along to renters and tenants, making rents go up.
2. We cannot afford another expensive "legacy project". We have the Cross Kirkland Trail, a wonderful project that adds to our city's livability. We have an exemplary parks system with enough parks, open spaces, and trails to serve our citizens and the region. We built a state of the art Public Safety Building. We went through an annexation that is not yet fully paid for. We can't afford another expensive project.
3. It will not be used by all Kirkland citizens. I sympathize for citizens who want a community indoor swimming pool and recreation center, but many citizens will never use it, either because it cannot be conveniently located to serve all neighborhoods or they have no need for it. Not all citizens want or need an indoor pool or the other features of the ARC. Why should all citizens pay for something they will never use?
I love Kirkland and its parks system. I have supported many projects for the greater good over the years. This project does not fit that "for the greater good" description, in my opinion.
Full disclosure: I am a former Kirkland Parks Board member, Planning Commission member, and served 2 terms on the Kirkland City Council. While on the Council, I agreed, along with all Council members, to go forward with exploration of this project. At that time, I worried about the cost of and demand for an indoor swimming facility. Now that more details have come out about the cost, I cannot support the project.