Early returns show Seattle voters approve new park district

SEATTLE - Early election returns show that, so far, a majority of Seattle voters are willing to pay more to maintain city parks.

Proposition 1, which would create a Seattle Park District and raise an estimated $48 million a year to support city parks, is narrowly passing with support from 52 percent of the people.

The measure would increase home property taxes by 33 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value. For a home worth $300,000, taxes would increase by about $100 a year.

It would replace an expiring six-year parks levy that raised $146 million this year and is about to expire.

Supporters of proposition, including Mayor Ed Murray, say it is needed it is needed as a permanent fix to address a $270 million maintenance backlog and restore community center hours.

Opponents of the measure say they love parks, but don't want voters to write city council members a blank check. They fear this could lead to wasteful spending. Opponents also say that once voters give up the right to vote on parks every six years, they lose their voice.

About two-thirds of the votes have been counted so far.