University Place Metropolitan Park District (MPD) proponents say that there is no alternative to their special taxing district and that MPD commissioners will provide better accountability for tax spending.
Will they provide any better accountability that the seven City Council members that we’ve already elected to govern the city, including parks and recreation? Will we taxpayers oversee parks commission spending any better than we’ve previously monitored the City Council, which incurred $44.6 million in long-term city debt, prompting the current “crisis”?
Proponents of the MPD state that it will be independent of the city. Well, my understanding is that the city will retain ownership of the parks which they will, presumably, lease to the district.
If correct, this gives the city a double whammy. It gets the parks operation off the city’s books and receives revenue from the district, which would likely be a hefty slice of the district’s projected $3.695 million taxing authority.
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The City Council and city administration should follow the best practices of neighboring Fircrest and Steilacoom in the successful operation of their parks and recreation departments. I urge UP citizens to vote no on this unnecessary, permanent taxing district.