Elections

Lacey voters rejecting parks district plan

Lacey Parks District Levy Failing in Early Count

Lacey Parks District chair Carolyn Cox reacts to early election results showing the levy request is failing.
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Lacey Parks District chair Carolyn Cox reacts to early election results showing the levy request is failing.

Lacey residents are rejecting their city’s proposal to create a parks district.

As of Tuesday night’s tallies, a total of 6,839 voters were against the proposition compared to 5,899 voters in favor it — 54 percent to 46 percent.

“So the council is going to have to go back and regroup,” Lacey City Councilwoman Carolyn Cox said following the results. “And read the tea leaves from the election results and decide our next steps.

“I think probably it will be at least a couple years, if not longer, before we venture out with another measure. But if we do, it will look a little different from what we have now. And hopefully it will be a measure that voters find more palatable.”

If the parks district was approved by voters, it would have raised about $2.7 million a year, based on a property tax of 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or about $11.75 per month for a home assessed at $300,000, The Olympian reported.

The state allows the city to levy up to 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

A majority of Lacey City Council members supported the parks district plan, but the measure drew opposition from the Libertarian Party of Thurston County, which raised concerns about higher property taxes and the potential trickle down effect on already expensive rents in the area.

The party also took aim at the timing of a feasibility study on a future indoor sports facility, which might be funded by the parks district. At one point, Lacey officials said the study would be complete by September. Now, the $38,000 study is not expected to be complete until after the election in late November or December, City Manager Scott Spence has said.

The city downplayed the indoor sports facility, saying it was never a primary consideration for the city, but a secondary one. Previously the city estimated that the 40,000-square-foot indoor sports facility might cost $16 million and have annual maintenance costs of $750,000.

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