With the city's existing park bonds due to expire this year, the City Council is considering whether to ask voters this fall to approve a new funding measure to provide additional investments in Bellevue's nationally acclaimed park system.
While final details of a possible fall ballot measure have yet to be decided, money generated from such a measure would help protect open spaces, natural areas and the water quality of Bellevue's lakes and streams.
The measure could also fund enhancements at existing parks such as the Bellevue Downtown Park, Surrey Downs Park, Crossroads Community Park and the Bellevue Botanical Garden, as well as new investments in sports fields, trails and community and neighborhood parks.
The ballot measure could be a bond or a levy. The exact amount will be determined by the City Council by Aug. 12 in order for the measure to appear on the November ballot.
In April, the City Council endorsed a preliminary $40 million measure to replace the purchasing power of the expiring bonds. Depending on how the package is funded, it would cost a typical homeowner about $67 per year for the next 20 years, or a property tax rate of 11 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
The bonds expiring this year had an average property tax rate of 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
"Bellevue is known as a "City in a Park" because our parks and recreation facilities add so much to the quality of life here," said Mayor Grant Degginger. "I am frequently asked whether it is possible to do more to acquire new open spaces and enhance our trails and athletic fields."
Bellevue has a first-class system of parks and trails, supported over the years by voter-approved bonds. The last parks measure passed in 1988.
"We pride ourselves on having one of the best parks systems in the nation," said City Councilman John Chelminiak, who serves as the Council's liaison with the city's Park Board. "But to maintain what we have, and meet new demands from our increasingly diverse community, we need to provide some funding certainty."
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