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Parks district: Yes, we can limit costs
So how can the Village Green Metropolitan Park District commissioners limit taxation to 15 cents per thousand when they can legally tax up to 75 cents? The answer lies with the people behind the ballot measure.
Since the Kitsap County parks director advised our Kingston Parks Committee about MPDs back in 2004, I’ve talked to lots of officials and experts on the subject. You need three things to keep a 15 cents per thousand commitment, and the people behind the MPD have done all three:
• A well-defined district purpose. Limiting the MPD to the Village Green was spelled out in the ballot measure petition, and a huge effort convinced the county’s legal advisors to put than language on the ballot.
• A well-researched budget. Volunteer project managers and accountants in the community donated a lot of time and professional expertise to develop the MPD’s budget. In various grant application processes, external reviewers have also scrutinized the budget.
• MPD commissioners committed to the above. All of the commissioners have pledged to keep to the purpose of the district and to keep the low tax rate. Two of five will change every two years, and I can’t imagine anyone running for greater taxation.
Local control is key. The Port of Kingston’s commissioners have kept their taxation to 17 cents per thousand although their legal limit is 45 cents. It’s about accountability, not as a distant concept but as a neighbor-to-neighbor, face-to-face reality.