District seeks voter support for local parks levy

Published on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 by By Jeremy Schwartz

Read More News

The Northwest Park and Recreation District 2 will seek support from Blaine and Birch Bay voters for a four-year levy the district has placed on the November 2 ballot.

The levy will raise about $350,000 to the district annually for the next four years. It would cost 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation; $20 annually in a $200,000 home.

Parks board president Ted Morris said the levy would replace a two-year voter approved levy that expired last year. Money from that levy, approximately $375,000 annually, helped the district fund construction projects such as the new playground at Bay Horizon Park and the new kayak launch at Dakota Creek.

“We got a lot of bang for our buck,” Morris said.

The 2007 levy was approved by 62 percent of voters, just slightly above the required 60 percent. Morris said he is “cautiously optimistic” that Blaine and Birch Bay residents will approve this year’s levy, despite the current economic climate.

District board commissioners considered going out for a four-year levy last year, but decided it was not the right time to ask for money, Morris explained. The district covers the same area as the Blaine school district minus Point Roberts.

The board decided the four-year levy would give the district more financial stability, according to Morris. The money would allow the district to hire a full-time director and fund future construction of sports fields in Birch Bay and a trail connecting Blaine and Birch Bay, he pointed out.

“The investments we make now will be huge in the future,” Morris said.

If the levy fails, the district would be able to function but will not able to fund any major construction projects in the near future. The district has about $350,000 left in its bank account, he added.

Despite the still-shaky economy, Morris hopes voters will consider the positive impact the district is making and vote yes.
He said the district has tried to make the most of the funds received from the first levy and will continue that work if the 2010 levy is passed.

“I think we’re a lean model for providing recreation,” Morris said.