A King County Superior Court judge has changed slightly the ballot title for a measure that would create a Seattle Parks District.
After a lawsuit was filed challenging its sufficiency, Judge John Ruhl Friday added to the title the maximum amount of property taxes that could be levied under the measure — up to 75 cents on $1,000 of assessed value — and referenced the state law that enumerates the powers of a parks district.
John Fox of the Seattle Displacement Coalition, which challenged the ballot title written by the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, called the change “a marginal improvement.” The group argued that the original title didn’t tell voters that a yes vote would create a permanent new taxing authority.
The Displacement Coalition has also challenged the 250-word explanatory statement that will appear with the title on the August primary ballot. That challenge will be heard Tuesday by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.
The Seattle City Council in April approved placing the Seattle Parks District measure on the August ballot. Under the measure, the Parks District would be an independent taxing district, like a school district, and would be run by the City Council acting as the parks-district board. The council said it planned to set the initial tax rate at 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or $148 annually for the owner of a $400,000 home.