Proposition No. 1: Formation of Kirkland Aquatics and Recreation District
Proposition 1 concerns formation of a metropolitan park district under chapter 35.61 RCW.
This proposition would create the Kirkland Aquatics and Recreation District to fund construction, operation, maintenance and improvement of a proposed Aquatics Recreation and Community Center and other parks and recreational facilities; raise revenue by levying property taxes; contract with the City to perform its functions and provide for oversight by a Citizen Advisory Committee to ensure accountability. Its boundaries would be the same as the City of Kirkland and the elected City Councilmembers would comprise its board.
Voters are asked to vote for one of these two options:
- For the formation of the Kirkland Aquatics and Recreation District to be governed by the members of the Kirkland City Council serving in an ex officio capacity as the Board of Commissioners
- Against the formation of the Kirkland Aquatics and Recreation District
The City of Kirkland is asking voters to approve the formation of the Kirkland Aquatics and Recreation District, a metropolitan park district with the same boundaries as the City of Kirkland, to fund an aquatic, recreation and community center. The Kirkland Aquatics and Recreation District would be a distinct municipal corporation with all the powers granted by state law in RCW chapter 35.61, available at: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite:35.61. Among the District’s powers is the ability to levy an annual property tax up to $0.75 per thousand dollars of assessed value. The elected Kirkland City Councilmembers would comprise its Board and the District would raise revenues for the construction, operation, maintenance and improvement of a facility to be known as the Aquatics, Recreation and Community Center (ARC). The ARC will include competition and exercise pools, a warm water recreation pool, gymnasium, fitness rooms, exercise studios, classrooms for arts education, and community gathering and banquet spaces.
When authorizing this ballot measure, the City Council also approved an ordinance authorizing the City Manager to sign an agreement with the District should its formation be approved by the voters. Under the proposed agreement, the District would levy a property tax of approximately $0.25 per thousand dollars of assessed value, establish a citizen advisory committee for oversight, issue an annual accountability report, and require public advisory votes to approve other major expenditures. The City would retain ownership of all parks property and provide staffing for the District.
The companion ordinance and proposed agreement are available at:
For questions about this measure, contact: Robin Jenkinson, City Attorney, 425-587-3030, RJenkinson@kirklandwa.gov
We have an opportunity to create a much-needed indoor Aquatics, Recreation and Community Center (ARC) for Kirkland that we will cherish now and for generations to come. Residents have been asking for such a facility since 2001. Kirkland has no public recreation and fitness center, nor large meeting or event space. City swimming lessons sell out within minutes, and our only public year-round pool will soon close. Now is the time to invest in our growing community. The ARC will enrich our quality of life with gymnasiums; teaching, therapy, workout and recreation pools; fitness rooms; meeting/event spaces for up to 300 people - a healthy, safe gathering place where people of all ages and abilities can meet and participate in a variety of programs. Everyone, from infants to seniors, will have affordable access to year-round fitness programs, including greater access to desperately-needed swimming lessons. Modest usage fees can cover the center’s operational costs when aquatics, recreation and community spaces are combined into a single, multifunction facility. A metropolitan park district, with a citizen advisory committee providing oversight, creates sustainable funding to construct and maintain a first-class facility that will benefit our community for many generations. Vote Yes for Proposition 1.
Submitted by: Rick Colella, Bill Finkbeiner, and Joan McBride, www.buildthearc.org
Rebuttal of Statement Against
The Park District is being created to build the ARC. It’s a prudent investment with multiple layers of accountability, requiring annual state audits, citizen oversight, and voter approval of any other major expenditures. The city and community have worked together for two years developing preliminary plans for the ARC and have identified two potential sites. Vote Yes, and together we can move forward with securing a final site and design that serves our whole community.
This proposition creates a new Park District controlled by Kirkland city councilmembers and governed by state law. It gives the councilmembers a blank check for any parks-related money they choose without voter approval.
If this passes, they can set the yearly tax rate up to $375 for a $500,000 home. Their suggested levy rate would add $125 in annual property taxes for a $500,000 home – almost double the 2012 voter-approved Parks Levy.
They can increase the tax anytime without voter approval and voters cannot terminate the Park District.
After Kirkland’s vote, if this passes, the councilmembers will decide how much to actually spend for a huge indoor pool facility, gymnasium, and community center on property not yet chosen and at unknown cost. Cost projections range from $53,000,000 to $86,000,000. We all deserve more certainty about what we are getting for our money.
We don’t know the tax amount, we don’t know the ARC building cost, we don’t know Park District or ARC operating costs, we don’t know what other projects will be added.
It’s only fair that the Council provides all essential facts before asking for our money.
Go to www.no-kard.org for more information and vote “Against” Proposition 1.
Submitted by: Rick Whitney, Mike Nykreim, and Ken MacKenzie, www.no-kard.org
Rebuttal of Statement For
The City and proponents act like this is a levy to approve the ARC.
Actually, it would allow Kirkland to exceed Washington levy limits by adding a new tax system to fund projects chosen by the new District.
They also want everyone to believe appointed oversight committees and advisory votes will prevent future tax increases or additional projects without voter approval.
Demand a standard levy or bond to build an ARC. Vote “Against.”