Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: Help PenMet achieve community’s goals and objectives

Posted on November 3rd, 2023 By: Steve Nixon

How do we define adequate funding for Parks and Recreation for our Community?

In 2017 the voters of the then 13-year-old Peninsula Metropolitan Park District, known as PenMet Parks approved a measure to provide the maximum level of funding for PenMet.  Since that measure was approved, we have seen PenMet take steps to expand recreation opportunities, address deferred maintenance issues, start construction to add capacity and work on renovating aged facilities.

The PenMet Board of Park Commissioners is asking voters to approve the same measure again in this election.  What this measure means for the voters is pretty simple in financial terms.  Looking at a home and property valued at $1 million dollars.

Current levy rate is $0.575 per $1000 of assessed value.  So that property is assessed $575 a year for PenMet Parks.  On my tax bill that number is only 6.5% of what I pay in property taxes.  While we may all pay it differently, that equates to about $48 per month, about half of our Y membership.

The requested levy rate of $0.75 per $1,000 of assessed value on that same property would be $750 for a year, about $63 per month.  So that is an increase of $175 a year, or $15 per month.

Our community continues to identify gaps in Park and Recreation services.  At the risk of confusing the issue, the City of Gig Harbor is not part of PenMet. The city is struggling to adequately fund Parks and Recreation.  The recent article in Gig Harbor Now regarding Phase 2 and 3 of the Gig harbor Sports Complex indicates funding is still not developed for completion of Phase 1a, Phase 2 or Phase 3. That is the majority of the project that the City still needs to figure out how to fund.

The community has asked for a dedicated space for Seniors and community aquatics.  These are additional things that the community is asking for that will need to be funded in the future.

If our community was able to provide adequate funding for Parks and Recreation over the last 20 years, where would we be with these gaps today?  Where will we be in the future if we don’t provide adequate funding now?

PenMet Parks has posted their Strategic Plan and their PROS Plan on their website.  These plans clearly identify goals and objectives developed with community input.

PenMet has the plans in place to utilize funding to advance community priorities for Parks and Recreation. I am glad PenMet is asking me what I want. For my family, we will choose to invest in our community by supporting these plans and this request to provide funding for local Parks and Recreation.

Steve Nixon

Gig Harbor

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