Banks, Government, Parks

New parks fee goes into effect for Banks residents, businesses July 1

Greenville City Park. Photo: Chas Hundley

BANKS – The Banks City Council last month unanimously passed an ordinance, which goes into effect Friday, establishing a park services fee to fund maintenance, improvements, and operations for Greenville City Park and Log Cabin Park. 

Residential units both inside the city limits and the city’s urban growth boundary — any and all individual units that use Banks’ water utility — will be charged $5 on the owner’s or occupant’s monthly utility bill beginning July 1, which coincides with the city’s fiscal year and allows time to further amended the ordinance if needed.

Businesses and all non-residential units in Banks will be charged $10 each month, the only exceptions being premises owned by the city and unimproved premises within the Banks city limits that are exempt from property taxes.  

Any accessory or ancillary residential unit on a residential property that uses the city’s water utility also is subject to the new park fee.  

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Although the ordinance takes effect today, residents, businesses, and non-residential units will not be charged retroactively. 

Arbor Village homeowners will now pay individually

City documents show the Arbor Village Homeowners Association, which since 1998 has been the sole payer for city parks, paid the City of Banks $20,000 in 2018, $18,000 in 2019, and it will make one last payment this year of $16,000.

An agreement dated May 8, 2018, between the city and the HOA, says Arbor Village homeowners would be responsible for making payments through 2023, even if the city created a levy or an alternative funding source.

The original agreement between the City of Banks and the 340-home Arbor Village HOA also says the HOA would continue paying the city through 2023 in decreasing amounts, but Mayor Pete Edison said the city council determined that it’s fair to have all Banks residents and businesses pay a nominal monthly fee for both parks maintenance and operations.

Edison told the Banks Post the establishment of a city-wide park fee is a good thing, and that the fee would generate much more revenue than the HOA’s annual payment. 

“For many years, at least 20, the Arbor Village Homeowners Association was required to pay for Greenville Park based on (the city’s) agreement with them,” Edison said. “The developer of Arbor Village, (Beaverton-based West Hills Development Company), promised the city that the HOA would pay for maintenance of the park.” 

The city will not pursue further payments from the HOA after the final $16,000 is accrued, according to the first amendment of the ordinance. 

Projected funds

During the January city council meeting, City Manager Jolynn Becker said the city-wide $5 fee may generate less than what’s needed to maintain the two parks. City documents show that the annual fee will create $44,220 of revenue while commercial and industrial properties will generate $5,760 annually — all of which is required to be used for parks only.

City documents also show the parks fee is projected in the latter half of 2020 overall to raise $24,990, and combined with the Arbor Village HOA’s final payment of $16,000 in total will generate $40,990. 

In 2021, the amount should increase to $57,440 with a full 12 months of charges encompassing individual units, businesses, and non-residential units.  

Becker also expressed to the city council that a shortage of park fees may require the city to dip into its general fund, from which many city departments pull money, to offset costs, and that the addition of more park features would increase park costs but the park services fee would “help stabilize the general fund,” according to the minutes from the January meeting. 

The city also plans to research and apply for grants that could help it expand and improve the two parks, and add to the overall parks fund.  

“As we move further down the road it just makes sense that all residents should be responsible for both park’s operations, not just the Arbor Village HOA,” Edison said. 

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