Opinion

Opinion | Si View Metro Park District is safe. So what do we do now?

The numbers speak for themselves. Seventy five sign-wavers; 21,200 volunteer phone calls; 10,000 personalized postcards and flyers signed by 71 different people; 57 others who did everything from hosting the website to entering data to printing cards.

In all, nearly 300 people gave their time to help Si View Metro Parks Department make a Valley-wide reach-out. Their efforts to make sure every Si View supporter understood the need to vote on both ballot issues is what propelled the parks district to a firm, heartening win at the polls.

As of today, Si View’s prop. 1, which protects the district from pro-rationing under the state’s property tax levy cap, is riding at 87 percent approval; more than 4,900 people supported the measure, with some 680 voting against it. Proposition 2, a one-year M&O levy, had the tougher row to hoe with a 60 percent “supermajority” requirement. Yet it also did surprisingly well, passing today at 75 percent approval.

Miles from Si View, I ran into folks on Election Day afternoon rushing to the Snoqualmie post office to make sure their ballots got in on time, the parks district being their first priority. Amid our region’s still-tough economy, the win showcases the importance of Si View’s mission to the Valley, and also shows what a strong, motivated corps of volunteers can achieve. School boosters, take note.

At the post-campaign party that evening, someone jokingly suggested that it was time to get to work on the next ballot measure for 2012. All joking aside, perhaps that isn’t a bad idea. The clock never stops ticking.

After a well-deserved breather, Si View needs to look ahead, and find a solution that saves it from the state’s ongoing tax and budget crisis. There’s no telling when the property value crash that put us in this position will begin climbing up into daylight.

Should we expect to run one-year maintenance levies annually as a stopgap? Not perpetually. This campaign may have been a big success, but I suspect voters will eventually tire of returning to the polls to pass supermajority measures every autumn.

Junior taxing districts feel the pain because our state has decided that when the crunch happens, the buck has to stop somewhere. People’s property tax rights in the state need to be protected, but our communities have never been through anything like this before. Si View has found an elegant, but temporary, way to offset the massive 84-percent cut that would have left it a shell. We’ll need a longer-term solution. Got any ideas?

If you do, consider sharing them or getting involved. The Si View Metro Parks District commission meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of the month at Si View Community Center, 400 SE Orchard Drive, North Bend. If you live in and around North Bend, or in King County bordering Snoqualmie, you are a district member. You can learn more about Si View at siviewpark.org.

 

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