Decades-old special parks taxing district to ‘likely’ dissolve

The taxing district hasn’t been active for decades after a failed attempt to find funds for a community center.

The King County Council could dissolve an Enumclaw-area special taxing district later this month.

According to a mailer from Council member Reagan Dunn, the county council will hold a public hearing on the Enumclaw Park and Recreation Service Area on Aug. 23, giving locals a chance to ask questions and provide opinions on the taxing district’s dissolution.

According to the mailer and Enumclaw staff, the Enumclaw Park and Recreation Service Area was created by the county in 1990 for the purpose of developing and maintaining a community center and senior center. The tax district, which covered only the Enumclaw School District boundaries south of the Green River, was approved by voters 55% to 45%.

The district was created in anticipation of a bond and levy that would fund the construction of “an auditorium for all types of performances and a large community center area that would house the city’s senior center,” reads a Nov. 14, 1990 Courier-Herald article — not unlike the community center that the current City Council is designing, and may result in a bond measure on a future election ballot.

But come the 1991 general election, the bond didn’t just fail to meet the supermajority threshold necessary to pass, but was actually rejected by 70% of voters; the levy met a similar fate.

No attempt to fund the district has been made since then, prompting King County Elections to notify the county council of its inactivity this month; RCW 36.96 states any special taxing district can be declared inactive and dissolved after five years of no action, seven years with no elections, or if its determined unauditable by the state auditor.

If the county council finds the Enumclaw Park and Recreation Service Area to meet any of those criteria, it “will likely lead to the dissolution of the district” Dunn’s mailer reads.

Dissolving the district will not affect the city’s newest attempt to fund a community center to house the senior center, Arts Alive!, the Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce, the Parks and Rec department, and a full-sized gym, city staff has said. There does not appear to be any attempt by the city to lobby for the district to stay intact.

Other taxing districts Elections notified the county council of include Shoreline Park & Rec, Issaquah Park & Rec, Coalfield Park & Rec, and King County Fire Protection District No. 24.