City wants taxpayers to pay more to fix parks

by: Henry Rosoff Updated:


SEATTLE - Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council members will ask voters in August to create a parks district with the power to tax. 

There is a more than $200 million maintenance backlog and some of the parks have crumbling infrastructure.  Seattleites already pay a parks tax, but the district would have the power to set the tax much higher. 

The average Seattle taxpayer pays $3,657, including city taxes, King County tax, Ports of Seattle tax and Seattle Public Schools tax. 

An average of $432 of that is taxes Seattle voters have added to their own bills at the ballot box by approving taxes for libraries, education, transportation, low-income housing, parks and the pike place market. The parks tax is about to expire and the taxing parks district would replace it. 

The district would be run by an appointed board with the power to raise the average tax bill between $67 and $196, depending on a new tax rate the board would set. 

There were plenty of people on the KIRO 7 Facebook page that said they didn't want more taxes.  However, no one KIRO 7 approached in downtown Seattle said they would vote against the tax. 

Murray said he is still confident voters will pass the tax, as they’ve passed almost every new tax. 

He said the choice was simple: “Do we want to repair the parks, restore the community center hours lost during the great recession? Or do we want to start closing these facilities down?”