Don’t take it out on our park system | Letter
November 2, 2012 · 4:21 PM
Everyone who has commented in the Reporter about Proposition 2 agrees on a fundamental point: Kirkland parks are a great civic asset and deserve to be well maintained. The few arguments against Proposition 2 have nothing to do with parks, but are really complaints about how the city spends money on other items.
Yet, Kirkland’s parks make this community an exceptionally appealing place to live. We shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
If we’re agreed that our parks are important and should be well maintained, let’s give them the financial support they need and make sure that the money can’t be spent on anything else. That’s exactly what Proposition 2 does.
Then, if we don’t like other parts of the city’s budget, let’s take a close look at those expenditures.
If you study Kirkland’s budget, you’ll quickly see that some of the figures being used to argue against Proposition 2 can be easily misunderstood. The city’s latest budget was $449 million: that sounds like a lot, but that is the biennial amount, so Kirkland’s annual budget is half that figure. And the funds that the city can actually use to provide services are even less. If you also note that sales and property tax revenues have fallen significantly in the last few years, and that about 50 city staff positions have been cut – in the face of a 40 percent increase in Kirkland’s population – you might wonder whether the city really does have the money it needs to care for parks and maintain roads.
The City of Kirkland does a great job at making budget data public. In fact, the city just got an award for budget transparency. The city’s biennial budget is being put together now. So, if we’re unhappy about how our general tax dollars are spent, let’s do our homework. But don’t take it out on our park system.
Proposition 2 creates a dedicated source of funding that will protect our parks for decades to come. Let’s invest in what has made Kirkland a great place to live. Let’s vote yes on Proposition 2.
Scott Morris, co-chair, Yes! for Great Kirkland Parks