Seattle voters to decide on property tax to support parks

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Ballots in the primary election are due Tuesday, and in Seattle, voters are deciding on a new property tax to pay a $270 million maintenance backlog at local parks.

If the proposition is approved, it would mean $70 to $200 more a year for the average homeowner.

But it's all variable, because Proposition 1 would create a new independent taxing authority run by the Seattle City Council.

Councilmembers would decide how much to raise taxes, without the public’s input, to maintain parks and playgrounds.

Supporters say tax revenue, wiped out by the Tim Eyeman tax initiatives in the early 2000s, led to a $270 million backlog of maintenance for Seattle parks.

They say the only answer is to raise property taxes, which could lead to higher rates for renters, too.

Mayor Ed Murray says there's only so much general levy funding the city can collect, so creating a Seattle Park District would free up space for other issues.

But the proposition would basically clear the way for the city to ask voters to approve even more taxes. in the future.

On Tuesday, the last day to get ballots postmarked, less than 19 percent of registered voters in Seattle have turned in their ballots.

That means, the tax increase for all Seattle property owners may be decided by one-fifth of the people who live in the city.

Ballots must be postmarked or delivered to a drop box on Tuesday. If mailing you are mailing your ballot the best way to assure it will be counted is to have the envelope canceled by hand at the post office. If using a drop box, the ballot must be deposited by 8 p.m.

 King County Ballot Drop Locations:

http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections/voting/ballotreturn/map.aspx

Pierce County Ballot Drop Locations:

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=218414051477006825316.0004a41f0cb6813260044&msa=0&dg=feature

 Skagit County Ballot Drop Locations:

https://wei.sos.wa.gov/county/skagit/en/Pages/SkagitElecHome.aspx

 nohomish County Ballot Drop Locations:

http://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/225/Ballot-Drop-Boxes

 Whatcom County Ballot Drop Locations:

https://wei.sos.wa.gov/county/whatcom/en/ballots/Pages/BallotDropSites.aspx

 Thurston County Ballot Drop Locations:

http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/auditor/Elections/Dropsites/dropboxes_no_election.htm

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