EDMONDS, Washington (STPNS) -- The Edmonds City Council has begun an exploratory discussion on the possibility of forming a Metropolitan Park District.
A Metropolitan Park District is a way to tax residents for their parks separately from the city’s budget, with the advantage being to protect parks from possible citywide budget cuts.
While different in a number of ways, this is similar to a Parks and Recreation District, a Parks and Recreation Service Area, or even taxing areas for emergency services, water, sewers or other services.
Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite presented the basic idea to council Tuesday.
“This is just to explore the idea,” she said. “Council can then introduce the idea to the public if they want to.”
A MPD could be formed with the City Council serving as managers of the district.
“Governance of the district is simplified,” Hite said.
There are a number of MPDs in the state, most formed either for the management, control and improvement of existing parks or for the maintenance and acquisition of new parks.
An MPD can only be formed with a simple majority vote of the public.
By law, the maximum amount that can be levied is 74 cents per $1,000 of home value, but most districts do not levy that amount.
If such a district were formed, city and county properties, as well as debt, could be transferred to the MPD.
“The key questions are, what services do we need and who will provide these services?” Hite said.
“This is just another tool to put in your (council) tool box to look at different ways to reduce the budget.”
“I think this is a wonderful idea to look into,” Council member Diane Buckshnis said. She also wondered if the Senior Center could be included in an MPD. (Yes.)
Hite said if council is interested, she’d recommend forming an exploratory group of citizens to investigate further.
The idea seemed worthy of further study to the rest of the council.
“This isn’t a brand new idea,” council President Strom Peterson said. “It was first brought up when we were talking fire authority, but it’s certainly worth taking a look at.”
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