Possible parks district may increase taxes for homeowners

Possible parks district may increase taxes for homeowners
WAPATO, Wash. -- There may soon be more activities for the Wapato community. KIMA discovered the city is trying to create a Parks and Recreation District.

They say the third time's a charm. After the Wapato Community Center shut its doors unexpectedly earlier this summer, neighbors are happy to hear the city is considering a parks and recreation district proposal.

"My initial reaction actually is positive and I think it's a good thing for the council to start investigating um pulling together a Parks and Rec department again because I know that there has been one in the past,” said Wapato parent Carrie Osorio.

That's Osorio's initial reaction, but still some hesitation looms after the city's community center struggled with insurance requirements.

"They struggle with the other sort of duties that comes along with running the community center. So that makes it difficult for that to be a volunteer position. I think the city should invest in making sure that someone runs it properly,” Osorio told Action News.

Last week Major Farias told me, the city council will vote on this proposal next month. If passed, it will create five new open seats on November's ballot for park district commissioners. The mayor told me, there currently is no funding for the proposal, which means if it is passed, council will have to create a special tax.

"I think they're looking out more for themselves you know they got to look out more for the community,” said Saul Perez. Perez is a local business owner, he told us, he would like to see the city take more action.

This tax will come from assessed property value, money out of homeowners' pockets. It hasn't been determined how much the city would ask for, but the district would have the ability to asses up to ₵0.75 per $1,000. If the average homeowner’s property costs $200,000, that's nearly $200 dollars. Still less than the school bond two years ago, that's at a $1.23 per $1,000.

"Asking these families to give a hundred or $200 a year extra is really asking a lot,” said Osorio.

Most neighbors KIMA talked to are in favor of a parks and recreation district for the future generations of the town. But, they wish the city would expand their means for funding.

"I think that there's other ways to find money like grants and things like that that could directly affect the community like Wapato,” Osorio told KIMA.

“Even if you save one life you know, it's defiantly worth it to me. You know keeping them out of jail, keeping them you know out of a grave,” said Perez.

The district would also include part of Yakima County.