In the news:
Kirkland will vote on roads, parks measures
Two property-tax levies, to step up road maintenance and to operate, maintain and upgrade parks, will go before Kirkland voters in November. They would raise $5.3 million a year and cost the owner of a typical home $127 annually.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Two property-tax levies, to step up road maintenance and to operate, maintain and upgrade parks, will go before Kirkland voters in November.
The City Council tentatively agreed this week to the permanent levies, which would raise a combined $5.3 million a year and cost the owner of a typical home $127 annually.
The council is expected to vote July 17 to add them to the ballot.
City Manager Kurt Triplett said the city hasn't been able to maintain roads or parks at adequate levels. "We will continue to prioritize what the public says is most important — public safety — but without some new revenue our residents will see our parks and our roads continue to deteriorate. They don't want that, they've asked us to fix that, so we're giving them an opportunity to vote in that new revenue," Triplett said.
The roads levy would roughly double city spending on street maintenance. Most of the levy would be used to maintain arterials, with lesser amounts used to provide safe walking routes to schools and for other pedestrian and neighborhood road improvements.
Public Works Director Ray Steiger told the City Council on Tuesday that Kirkland has a $39 million maintenance backlog that will expand to $148 million over 20 years without new funding.
The $3 million levy would cost the owner of a median $349,000 home $71 a year. (Half of Kirkland home values are above median, half below.)
The separate parks levy would raise $1.1 million for maintenance and operations, and $1.25 million for pay-as-you-go capital projects. The maintenance revenues would restore lifeguards and other reduced service; restore forests and habitat; and maintain O.O. Denny Park, the future Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail, Edith Moulton Park and city-school projects.
Priority capital projects include replacement of the Juanita Beach Park bathhouse; an interim gravel trail on the Cross Kirkland Corridor; parkland acquisition; city-school playfields; and renovations of docks, shorelines and Waverly Beach and Edith Moulton parks.
The parks levy would raise taxes on the median-priced home by about $56 a year.
Bob Style, an opponent of the levies, said the city has given too much money to nonprofit groups and overpaid top officials while spending too little on roads and park maintenance.
"Their budget priorities are screwed up. There is no need for a levy if they did it right," Style said.
Supporters of the parks levy this week registered a campaign committee, Yes for Great Kirkland Parks, with the state Public Disclosure Commission. Co-chair Scott Morris told the City Council the campaign group will work very hard to pass the levy.
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or firstname.lastname@example.org