Outdoor Parks & Rec Guidance, 1% Property Tax, New 'Framework' on Gatherings, and Vashon Park District Bill

We Want Your Support

A Message from Doug Levy, WRPA Lobbyist 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Governor’s Orders, Guidance

With apologies if this is a duplication for any of you, there are several I want to ensure you are aware of:

  • Recently-issued guidance update from Governor (5/26/2020) that both clarifies for Phase I and for Phase 2 on: Gondola operations; Outdoor guided activities, including guided hikes, climbs, and bicycling and rafting tours; Charter boat excursions;  Zoos, limited to outdoor exhibits only and at limited capacity in Phase 2; and “all other activities substantially similar in operation and equally able to meet the requirements mandated by this memorandum.”
  • Governor’s new order on faith-based gatherings/places of worships for Phase 1, Phase 2 – includes weddings.
  • Just-issued Department of Health guidance on child care, youth development, summer day camps – thanks to Paul Simmons for passing along.  Note it does NOT cover overnight camping or youth sports and athletic or activities that are included as part of K-12 or special education.  Also, day camp that include sports-related activities must also follow forthcoming guidance for youth sports.

1% Property Tax

Following direction from the WRPA Executive Board and WRPA Legislative Steering Committee, I’ve taken a lead role in facilitating a June gathering of stakeholders from parks and recreation (President Paul Simmons, myself), local government, labor, police and fire, etc., to discuss the current 1% property tax limitation on all local agencies.  This is a timely discussion, as we know that next Session (2021 Regular Session), the Legislature is expected to decide if it wishes to sunset, renew, or renew/broaden a current four-year adjustment to the state’s 1% limitation that the Legislature enacted in 2017 as part of its McCleary package related to K-12 education.  Stay tuned for more details after we hold our first coalition meeting next month.

A next-up WRPA “Framework” document

FYI that some of our leaders within WRPA have decided not to rest on their laurels in creating a “WRPA Recovery Framework” under COVID-19 that was emulated by park-and-recreation associations in several other Western States.  A particular shout-out to LEG Steering Committee Chair Roxanne Miles (Pierce County), who has done initial drafts of a framework for how we in the parks and recreation profession might organize and coordinate Phase 3 large gatherings not strictly on a numbers-driven basis, but by utilizing guidance and mitigation criteria from the likes of the CDC and Johns Hopkins.  Early drafts have been put together and we will look to circulate something more broadly soon!

Vashon Park District bill to prevent ‘pro-rationing’

My thanks to Elaine Ott-Rocheford, Executive Director of the Vashon Park District, for alerting me on Wednesday to a likely 2021 Session bill that lawmakers from the 34th Legislative District will be running to address potential property tax “pro-rationing” issues impacting her Park District.  I’ve attached a Word Document with the e-mail thread that Elaine shared with me, as well as Excel documents showing the specific impact on Vashon from the current $5.90/$1000 property tax limitations as well as what Elaine heard from other Park Districts around the state when she queried them on this issue.

The usual protocol for us at WRPA is to support these types of bills that can assist a given local parks agency and do not adversely affect any other agency.  That would be my recommended approach here, on a bill that Elaine and her District would have a lead role on.  I would also want to find out if any OTHER park district is facing a very near-term ‘pro-rationing’ issue – if so, please let me know.

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