University Place will pay $350,000 to help build two parks next to Chambers Bay Golf Course without requiring a place for dogs to run free.
The University Place City Council voted 5-2 to start paying $35,000 annually starting next year. Council members Lorna Smith and Stan Flemming voted against the plan.
The city's share helps assure some 28 acres of park space - known as the North and Central Meadow areas - will be ready when the high-end Pierce County golf course opens next year.
Some University Place officials wanted to make the contribution conditional on the county including space for an off-leash dog park.
But Mayor Gerald Gehring said the city didn't want to delay the course's opening. County officials also assured UP that they will re-examine the dog park issue, he said. "We decided to uncomplicate things for the County Council, " Gehring said.
But with the city trying to develop the mixed-use Town Center project while struggling to meet its own capital needs, Smith and Flemming said they're concerned the city is stretching itself thin financially.
Smith said she's also concerned because the new revenue expected to pay for the parks is based on the golf course's success. Projections from consultant KemperSports Management show the course will generate about $175,000 in city tax revenue the first year.
"It's not a given, " she said. "It's a guess."
The Pierce County Council last year froze some $19 million for golf course-related projects. It eventually released the money, including $3.5 million for construction of the two park areas.
But those funds came with the condition that University Place chip in 10 percent. County leaders reasoned that the city of 31,000 stands to gain from the parks because they would be built on county-owned land inside city limits.
That's why officials in University Place - a city struggling to pay for new sidewalks and streets, let alone buy land for parks - largely approve of the deal with the county.
Central Meadow would feature 22 acres with trails immediately south of the golf course. North Meadow would be a 6-acre park on the northern edge.
It's also good for Pierce County, which can market the 930-acre project as more than a golf course and open the property to the nongolfing public.
Also Monday, the city council decided 4-3 to ask voters to raise their taxes to pay for sidewalks, streets and other capital needs.
Voters will decide in November whether to raise the city property tax rate of $1.35 per $1,000 assessed value to $1.60. That means the owner of a $310,000 home - the average home value in University Place - would pay an extra $78. Council members Ken Grassi, Jean Brooks and Smith voted against putting the plan to a vote.
The decision comes after months surveying residents. The city postponed some park improvements so construction on its Town Center could start this year.
"We still have no money for sidewalks, streets, streetlights and all the things people are asking for, " Gehring said. "We owe it to the community to let them decide."