5 Reasons to Vote NO on Prop. 1

  • By admin
  • September 29, 2016
  • Comments Off on 5 Reasons to Vote NO on Prop. 1

prop-1-logo-smWe all support parks, but Prop 1 comes with a lot of issues.

1. Prop. 1 creates a new “forever” tax.

Prop. 1 creates a new property tax on every home in unincorporated Mason County. This levy is $20 per $100,000 assessed value and will repeat every year. There is no expiration date. It will collect $1.27 million in 2017 and it will grow as property values grow.

2. Prop. 1 creates new bureaucracy.

Prop. 1 creates a new “Metropolitan Parks District” (MPD) – a political entity which has all the power of a city. Created under RCW Chapter 35.61, the new Park District would raise money for
recreation projects through a property tax, and would be overseen by a five-member commission.

The County would not have oversight over the Metropolitan Park District. Park commissioners would operate independently during their six year term. And RCW 35.61 the new District would have the power to levy up to 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation; to take homes or land through eminent domain; to pay Park Commissioners a stipend up to $10,944 per year; and to issue general obligation bonds.

The MPD can hire an expensive executive director and other staff, and spend on a new headquarters, equipment, land, and other expenditures, adding another level of bureaucracy which will not benefit voters.

3. There’s no plan; no budget. But if Prop. 1 passes, we’re stuck with it.

If citizens create a Metropolitan Park District and then decide that it was a mistake, it will be too late. Once we create the MPD, we citizens cannot “uncreate” it.

Only the MPD board members/commissioners have the power to dissolve the MPD. (RCW 35.61.310)

4. We don’t need TWO County Parks authorities.
Mason County already has a Parks and Trails Department. That’s not going away.
The proposed Metropolitan Park District will add another layer of expensive, redundant bureaucracy.

If we approve Prop. 1, we’ll be paying twice for services we already have.

5. Loss of local control.
Parks are inherently a local issue. But under Prop. 1, your region may not be represented on the Board of Park Commissioners. It is possible all five commissioners could be from the same neighborhood.

In a highly unusual move, the organizers of Prop. 1 ignored the 3 existing County districts and designated all 5 positions on the Parks Board to be “at large.” The ballot only lists candidate names, so it is difficult to keep track of who you are voting for, where they live, or whether they will have any interest in your local concerns.

Instead of strengthening local control, Prop. 1 would create another County-wide taxing authority, putting local areas in competition for where our tax dollars are spent.

Let’s work to support Parks through our existing County structure. Its a better solution.

$1.27 million new taxes. More bureaucracy. Please vote NO on Prop. 1.


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