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Parks package: Levy passing, bond failing

Election results available as of press time Wednesday showed the proposed park bond measure several percentage points short of the needed 60 percent supermajority, while the accompanying levy measure was passing. However, many absentee ballots and some Sammamish poll votes were yet to be tallied.

“I’m still hopeful,” said Hank Klein, co-chair of the “Vote Twice for Samm Parks” committee. “I think it’s exciting that a majority of voters want improvement in parks. ... We may still have a lot of votes out there that haven’t been counted.”

As of press time Wednesday, the bond had 5,269 “yes” votes, or 55.67 percent, and 4,196 or 44.33 percent voting “no.” The levy measure was passing with 53.72 percent “yes.”

Meant to be used as a package, the levy would have funded ongoing maintenance and programs at the proposed facilities and parks that would have been paid for by the bond measure. The city does have the option to re-run the bond measure, although it would then have the additional challenge of meeting validation requirements based off of the general election turnout.

“It’s really disappointing to be so close to 60 percent and not get there,” said Jessi Richardson, director of Parks and Recreation. “I remain optimistic for the last-minute miracle.

The proposed package included a $19 million, 20-year bond proposal and an annual levy lid lift measure that would have collected $310,000 per year. Together, the two would have cost the owner of a $600,000 home about $108 per year. Projects proposed included a partnership for a youth and teen facility, improvements at Sammamish Landing and East Sammamish parks, athletic fields at Pine Lake Middle School, a trail connection near Beaver Lake Park, land acquisition and more.

Scott Nazarino, one of several independent citizens who wrote letters to the editor and stepped out in opposition to the package, said he took issue primarily with raising taxes over what he doesn’t see as the top priority for the city at this time.

“People shouldn’t have to incur greater taxes at this time,” Nazarino said Wednesday. “If this is a priority, then they (the city) should find a way to pay for that.”

He said he also thinks there is something of a disconnect between the majority of the residents and city officials.

“I think they need to listen more to the people within the city. ... You tend to get the same people that are kind of proactive, but we need to find out a way to hear more from the public at large.”

For updated election results, visit www.kingcounty.gov/elections.aspx.

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