Metro Park District (MPD)

   walk path V

UPDATE: The proposed Ludlow Park District was defeated during the November 2013 General Election.

Metropolitan Park District (MPD) – in which the entire East Jefferson County would enter into a multi-area parks and recreation district. This would be a junior taxing district (such as Fire District, the Port Ludlow Drainage District, or the County Library), with between $0.35 to $0.75 per $1000 property valuation being assessed each year.

Update, October 2013: following the recommendation of the Metropolitan Park District (MPD) Steering Committee, the County Commissioners and the City Council of Port Townsend both voted to suspend exploration into a MPD as a funding possibility for an East Jefferson County parks and recreation district. Other options will be pursued.

UPDATE: At the October 7th BoCC meeting, the Commissioners accepted the recommendation from the MPD Steering Committee for them to stand down at this time, pending further directions being received from the County. They reported that they were unable to set a satisfactory tax rate (from .35-.75 cents per $1000 assessed property valuation), or draw boundaries for the District.  They met with much negative responses this summer as they took the Steering Committee and MPD concept on the road throughout Eastern Jefferson County, realizing this would never be voted in favorably.

Commissioners did extend the Steering Committee’s appointments (currently) ending March, 2014 to the end of June, 2014 so they can serve in an advisory capacity regarding any parks & recreation funding decisions the joint efforts of Jefferson County and Port Townsend may propose. Kathleen Kler, co-chair of the Steering Committee also turned in her resignation to the Commissioners, and it was reluctantly accepted.

That same evening (October 7th), the Port Townsend City Council adopted similar motions.

It was noted by County Administration that while the search for adequate funding resources for parks & recreational programs will continue, the concept of a “Metropolitan” Park District will not be used again.

UPDATE: Following the acceptance of the report from the Ad Hoc Parks Strategy Committee, a lengthy discussion ensued. It was recommended by some of the Council Directors that PLVC maintain a neutral position on both the MPD and the local district pending a presentation from both proponents and opponents of the two proposals at the Council’s general meeting on Thursday, October 3rd. This motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously. It was also discussed that the Council would accept motion(s) and vote following these presentations as to the formal position PLVC will take on these two park districts.

UPDATE:  At the September 5th General Meeting, the Village Council received the following report from the Ad Hoc Parks Strategy Committee:

To: Port Ludlow Village Council                                                                                         From:  Ad Hoc Parks Strategy Committee                                                                     Subject: Recommended Strategies and Actions                                                               Date:  September 3, 2013

“This committee has been asked to review proposals for the Metropolitan Park District (MPD) and also a Port Ludlow Park and Recreation District. At this time the MPD is under study by Jefferson County and is being promoted by the MPD Steering Committee. But concerns about the possible creation of an MPD led members of the Port Ludlow community to propose a local Park and Recreation District as a preemptive move. Some believe that creating such a local district would establish jurisdiction locally and would preclude the MPD from exercising authority over lands within the local district and would deny the MPD the ability to tax local property owners.

“At this time it is not possible to determine when or in what form the MPD may be brought before the voters of Jefferson County. The local Park and Recreation District and a slate of commissioners will be on the ballot this November.

“This committee recommends that the PLVC support neither the MPD nor the local district. We further recommend that the PLVC, at its October general meeting, provide agenda time for proponents and opponents of the two proposals to address the PLVC and the community. A separate “forum” is not recommended. We believe a properly advertised PLVC general meeting will attract a good segment of the local community.

“The committee is mindful of the fact that Jefferson County has severe budgetary constraints and that funding county parks is a real concern. At the October PLVC general meeting it would be helpful to have a county representative discuss how the need for additional funding arose and what services the Parks and Recreation Department actually provides.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard W. Grieves, Chair”

UPDATE: At the August 1st Village Council general meeting, President Dave Armitage presented a motion to form an Ad Hoc Parks Strategy Committee. This committee will recommend strategies and actions to be taken with respect to the Metropolitan Park District (MPD) and the local Park and Recreation District being proposed (and on the November ballot). Following a discussion, the motion was seconded and approved. The Council also approved the appointment of Richard Grieves as Chairperson of this Parks Strategy Committee.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, July 2nd the Village Council voted to send a letter to the Board of County Commissioners, to convey our community concerns about being included in the proposed Metropolitan Park District boundary.  The entire letter follows:

July 5, 2013 TO: Board of County Commissioners of Jefferson County RE: Exclusion of the Port Ludlow Master Planned Resort from the boundaries of the proposed Metropolitan Park District. Gentlemen, The Board of the Port Ludlow Village Council has become increasingly concerned about possible negative consequences to the Port Ludlow Master Planned Resort (MPR) of the proposed Metropolitan Park District (MPD) now being studied by a Steering Committee. Legal advice that we have obtained only increases that concern. Hence we are writing the Board of County Commissioners to indicate that we believe that the Port Ludlow MPR should not be included within the approved boundaries of the new MPD. Port Ludlow is a Master Planned Resort as defined by the Growth Management provisions of the Revised Code of Washington, Section 36.70A.360 and 362. Under the statute a Master Planned Resort is a “self-contained and fully integrated planned unit development”. The statute also mandates that Jefferson County adopt specific comprehensive plan policies to address the development of a Master Planned Resort, and requires that the County’s comprehensive plan and development regulations “include restrictions that preclude new urban or suburban land uses in the vicinity of the MPR”. Jefferson County’s Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 1998 and amended in 2004, contains provisions for Master Planned Resorts, specifically designates Port Ludlow as an MPR, and includes a description of what facilities, including recreational facilities, are allowed within the various zoning codes of the Port Ludlow MPR. Jefferson County is now considering establishing a Metropolitan Park District under RCW 35.61. The District boundaries could be set to include the Port Ludlow MPR. Among other goals, the District would manage, control, and maintain parks and associated recreational facilities throughout the boundaries of the proposed District. It would have the power to tax property within the District. With the exception of the Jefferson County-owned streets and highways, all of the land within the MPR is privately owned by single and multi-family dwelling owners, their various homeowners and condominium associations, business owners and, of course, Port Ludlow Associates (the Developer). We have abundant recreational facilities within the MPR. There are two homeowner association-owned clubs, both with recreational facilities including three swimming pools and seven tennis courts and parks. The Resort also includes a championship golf course and a 300 slip marina. More than 20 miles of forested trails have been built, and maintained, within and adjacent to the MPR by the Trails and Natural Resources Committee of the Port Ludlow Village Council utilizing easements granted by the homeowners associations and private landowners. These recreation facilities are owned, operated, and maintained by the support of dues and usage charges and are open to resort guests for a fee. It would not be consistent with the statutes establishing the MPR to have any park or recreational facility developed within the MPR for the use of all of the residents of Jefferson County. Given the restrictions on recreational facility development within the Master Planned Resort under both the Growth Management Act and Jefferson County’s Comprehensive Plan, constitutional issues over whether the District can impose a tax or a bond against the Port Ludlow community are likely to be raised. In addition to the concerns expressed above we have been advised that a careful review of the Metropolitan Park District statute suggests that the legislature may have had concerns of overlapping districts. Examination of the statutory scheme, the Jefferson County Comprehensive Plan, and relevant case law reflects policy considerations and legal hurdles that may complicate the application of such a District on the Port Ludlow MPR. The designation of Port Ludlow as a Master Planned Resort in accordance with the Growth Management Act, and the Development Agreement between the County and Port Ludlow Associates have worked well in concert to manage the growth of this unique Community in Jefferson County. It seems unwise to impose another unneeded, and potentially litigious, governance unit on our Community. Hence we strongly request that the Board of County Commissioners reject any attempt to include the Port Ludlow MPR within the boundaries of the proposed Metropolitan Park District. UPDATE:  On Monday, July 15th, he Jefferson County Board of Commissioners will hold a Public Hearing for the Proposed Formation of Park & Recreation District; located within the Master Planned Resort of Port Ludlow.

UPDATE:  Jefferson County Board of Commissioners pulled the Resolution from Consent Agenda on Monday – June 17, 2013 regarding the Hearing Notice for the Proposed Formation of Park & Recreation District; located within the Master Planned Resort of Port Ludlow. They asked the County Administrator to do some research on this so they are clear what their role will be for the Hearing. Hearing is currently not scheduled for Monday, July 8, 2013 as originally reported (May be rescheduled for July 15th).

On the Consent Agenda section of the Jefferson County Board of Commissions for Monday, June 17, 2013 is APPROVAL AND ADOPTION OF THE CONSENT AGENDA: (Items listed below have been distributed to the Commissioners in advance for study and will be enacted by one motion. If separate discussion is desired on an item, that item may be removed from the Consent Agenda and placed on the Regular Agenda, at a specific time, at the request of any of the Commissioners.)

1. RESOLUTION NO.      re: HEARING NOTICE: Proposed Formation of Park & Recreation District; Located within the Master Planned Resort of Port Ludlow; Hearing scheduled for Monday, July 8, 2013 at 10 am in the Commissioners Chambers.

June, 2013: Upon reviewing the legal opinion of Rich Shattuck (Silverdale), Council (on June 6, 2013) approved the motion to write a letter to both the County Board of Commissioners and the Metro Park District Steering Committee, asking that Port Ludlow be left outside of the boundaries of the MPD.

May-June, 2013:  Petition drive established in Port Ludlow, asking that Jefferson County place a ballot measure on the November, 2013 ballot. This measure would ask the question: “does Port Ludlow want to create their own Park District?” The idea being with Port Ludlow having their own Park District, we would be left out of the MPD boundaries. Legal questions play a major factor – the WA law is not completely clear on this point. MPDs do have the ability to annex areas into their boundaries. Jefferson County has identified two jurisdictions that currently maintain their own park district: Coyle/Thorndyke (established Park/Rec District 1984) and Brinnon (est. P/R District in 2002), and will leave them outside the MPD Boundaries.  However, with Port Ludlow representing at least 20% (may be higher) of the county’s property assessments, it might not be as easy as that.

In order to place a measure on the ballot, 15% of the registered voters must sign (and be validated by the county auditor) a petition. Within the span of 17 days, 486 Port Ludlow voters signed this petition.  It was necessary to have 333 validated signatures. The number of validated signatures was 438 – well over the 15% needed. This petition issue has now gone to the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners, who must approve the petition in order to be placed on the fall election ballot. The BoCC has not yet met on this subject.

May, 2013: At the present time, while the Village Council has had several discussions during General Meetings, no motion or vote has been taken regarding a specific position or direction regarding the Metropolitan Park District (MPD). During the May 21, 2013 Special Meeting, motion was made to seek legal advice regarding the validity of several options as they relate to Port Ludlow regarding the MPD. These findings will be submitted to the Council at the June 6, 2013 meeting.

April 2013 – GUEST SPEAKER: County Commissioner John Austin spoke on several topics including the proposed Metropolitan Park District (MPD).  Commissioner Austin began by reviewing funding difficulties in the County.  The 1% cap on property taxes has made it extremely difficult for the County to adequately fund services.  The Comp plan is to be updated in 2016.   John stated that all mandated services, such as the sheriff’s office and schools, must be funded.  Parks and Recreation is not a mandated service. A group of concerned citizens had formed an Exploratory Regional Parks and Recreation Committee to investigate putting a tax measure on the ballot to fund parks and recreation.  It involves creating a Metropolitan Park District (MPD) which would operate like a junior taxing district.  A steering committee has been formed to work out the details of a MPD consisting of 12 members and Doug Huber is the local representative.  Any questions or comments about the MPD should be directed to him.   At this point the committee is deciding what the boundaries of the district are.  The measure would only affect Port Ludlow if it was included within the boundaries of the MPD.  A report is expected by mid-fall.

Read More About It:  words or items listed in BLUE will bring up links to more detailed information. You are encouraged to learn as much as possible about this issue, in order to make good, informed decisions.

  1. FACT: An 11-member Jefferson County Steering Committee formed to develop a Metropolitan Park District (MPD) is meeting up to 3 times monthly at this time, studying the concept of a county-wide park district. They were given guidance and groundrules.
  2. FACT: Kathleen Kler is the co-chair of this Steering Committee, and can be reached at 360-765-0935 or emailed at:
  3. FACT: In order to place a measure creating a MPD on the February 2014 ballot, the Steering Committee assignments are to 1) prepare park and recreational program inventories, 2) determine the boundaries, and 3) set a tax rate (between $0.35 to $0.75 per $1000 property valuation). The current schedule defines the timeline to achieve this deadline.
  4. FACT: The representative for Port Ludlow is Doug Huber.
  5. FACT: Washington State Law allows for three different types of park districts: Park and Recreation District (Ch. 36.69 RCW), Metropolitan Park District (Ch. 35.61 RCW), and Park & Recreation Service Area (RCW 36.68.400 – .620).  A fourth district has been added: Joint Park & Recreation District (RCW 36.69.420 – .460).
  6. FACT: Metropolitan Park Districts have a long history, with the first one being created in Tacoma, Washington in 1907.
  7. FACT: There have been seventeen (17) Metropolitan Park Districts formed in Washington State, of which sixteen (16) are still active, including two in Kitsap County:  Bainbridge Island MPD (2004), and Village Green MPD (2010).
  8. FACT: Prior to the formation of the MPD Steering Committee, the Exploratory Regional Parks and Recreation Committee (ERPRC) was created in 2010. The City (of Port Townsend) and County “agreed to pursue sustainable and coordinated service delivery and funding for recreation facilities & services.” This committee was given the task of determining what the best park & recreation solution would be for the City of Port Townsend and Jefferson County.  Their findings were presented to the Joint Jefferson County/City of Port Townsend governing bodies, with final recommendation being to form a Metropolitan Park District, made in June 2012.
  9. FACT: The MPD Steering Committee has completed the Inventory of City/County Parks and Recreation Facilities (includes some estimated Maintenance/Operating Costs) and programs. It was recently (5/13/13) revised and updated.
  10. FACT: A comprehensive list of Jefferson County Parks (and Port Townsend Parks) is available (as a by-name listing),  and maps are available.
  11. FACT: MPD Steering Committee is working with an MPD Taxing Authority Fact Sheet, which includes Levy Rate Limits on Property Tax & Levy Lid Lift (RCW 84.55.050). Levy Lid Lift indicates that “any taxing jurisdiction, including a metropolitan park district, that is levying property taxes at a rate lower than the statutory maximum (in this case, maximum is $0.75 per $1000 property valuation), can ask the voters to lift the levy lid by more than one percent. A simple majority vote is required. Even jurisdictions that are currently levying their statutory maximum rate can ask the voters to raise the rate for one year.” Currently, the Steering Committee is reviewing a recommendation of $0.35/$1000 valuation with the County and City (Port Townsend) making up delta costs.
  12. FACT: There is also a supplemental sheet entitled: The $5.90 statutory limit and an MPD, which details how there is a statutory limit of $5.90 per $1000 property valuation which applies to the County, City and some (not all) junior taxing districts. These include County Roads, Library District, Hospital District, Cemetery District and MPD. The sum total of these taxes may not exceed $5.90 per $1000.
  13. Currently, Tax District 231 (Fire District 3 including the Port Ludlow MPR) Junior Taxing District total is $4.93/$1000. There is only $0.97/$1000 in additional taxes that can be levied by the Junior Taxing Districts within Tax District 231 without pro-rationing taking affect. Junior Taxing Districts will pay the same MPD tax as all other Junior Taxing MPD Districts if one Taxing District is subject to pro-rationing.
  14. FACT: Property Taxes have gone down during the Great Recession. Compare 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2012 Property Taxes against 2013 Property Taxes. Demands for City/County Services have not decreased. (This has to be fleshed out to account for re-assessment, new buildings being added to tax rolls, and the great recession, which devalued real property on an average of 24%)
  15. FACT: Presently, the MPD Steering Committee has met 4 times: 3/21, 4/23, 5/14, and held an Open House on 6/1/2013.
  16. FACT: The MPD Steering Committee will be hosting community forums during the summer of 2013 to generate feedback. There are plans for one of these forums to be held in Port Ludlow.
  17. FACT: Almost completely across the boards, metropolitan park districts offer more fiscal capacity and flexibility (than Park & Recreation Service Areas/Districts). This is particularly true for its property tax levy. First, the MPD levy is less subject to pro-rationing. MPDs also have a higher maximum levy – 75 cents per thousand dollars AV (versus 60 cents). In addition, the MPD levy is voted on by the legislative body and is permanent. Park and recreation districts and service area levies are subject to a vote of the people at least every six years and setting the levy requires a 60 percent majority with a 40 percent voter turnout.
  18. FACT:  When collected, the general tax for an MPD shall be placed in a separate fund in the office of the county treasurer to be known as the “metropolitan park district fund”  (RCW 35.61.210and paid out on warrants.
  19. FACT: Metropolitan Park Districts may issue general obligation debt in an amount equal to 2 ½ percent of their assessed valuations.(RCW 35.61.110)  Of this 2 ½ percent, ¼ percent may be nonvoted (also called councilmanic) debt. (RCW 35.61.100) The rest must be voted. The source for repayment of non-voted debt is the district’s general fund. For voted debt, debt service is paid from an excess property tax levy, which must be passed by a 60 percent vote, with an election turnout of at least 40 percent of those voting in the last general election. (RCW 84.52.056 and art. 7, sec.2, of the constitution.) This debt must be used for capital purposes (RCW 84.52.056) and can issued for a maximum of 20 years. (RCW 35.61.100)
  20. FACT: Districts may also issue all kinds of short-term debt: tax anticipation notes, bond anticipation notes, revenue anticipation notes, grant anticipation notes as well as use lines of credit. (RCW 35.61.100)


There’s a wide spectrum of ideas available to consider.  Follows is information about several of the options. What do YOU think Port Ludlow ought to do about this Parks & Recreation issue? 1. Become part of the Metro Park District (MPD) if it passes on a county-wide ballot measure   (Currently scheduled to be on ballot in February, 2014)

2.  Retain current status quo if the measure is on the Ballot and IF it fails  

  • Park on Pioneer Drive in Port Ludlow
  • 21-miles of Trails within Greenbelt and public lands
  • Privately-owned Golf Course. Amenities at Beach and Bay Clubs, including swimming pools, exercise rooms, tennis courts, paid for by Homeowner Fees.
  • PLA-owned Marina and Inn with Fireside Room.

3.  End up outside MPD boundaries set by steering committee prior to the vote It is within the MPD Steering Committee’s assigned duties to draw the boundaries for this proposed district. To date, that has not been done, so we don’t know if Port Ludlow will be in- or outside of this MPD. And even if Port Ludlow is originally not within the boundaries of the MPD, it could be annexed later. It’s currently unclear to PLVC members if the statues provide for developing our own Park & Recreation District. And if this action would prevent annexation, or keep us outside the MPD boundaries. That’s why a legal opinion has been sought for these (and other) related issues. Upon receiving the legal opinion from Rich Shattuck (of Silverdale), the Village Council on June 6, 2013 approved the motion to write a letter to both the County Commissioners and the MPD Steering Committee, asking for Port Ludlow to be kept outside of the boundaries of this Park District. 4. Port Ludlow could establish its own Parks & Recreation District (petitions are currently being validated by County Auditor).

  • Petitions were distributed around Port Ludlow the last week of May and first week of June2013.
  • They were turned into County Auditor’s office to qualify for the November 2013 ballot 16 days later.
  • Needed to have 15% of the voting population in Port Ludlow to sign petition in order to get on the ballot. That would be approximately 333 votes.
  • A total of 482 signatures were on the petitions: 438 were validated, so 31.5% signatures were validated (above the 15% required).
  • The Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners must certify these results, yet it appears the measure has qualified to be on the ballot for Port Ludlow residents to determine if they want to create their own Park District with the Master Planned Resort boundaries.

5. MPD could be defeated (countywide citizens group already organized/collecting signatures to keep the MPD issue off the ballot). ( – See website for information, papers,  activities and meeting dates. 6. Some entirely different option yet to be suggested. Do you have an idea? – please share it here (post in REPLY, bottom of page).

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