Mercer Island Parks and Recreation rolls out new registration system

Other city news involves health insurance and the police department’s budget.

  • Wednesday, December 6, 2017 6:18pm
  • News

Parks and Recreation rolls out new registration system

The Parks and Recreation Department announced that on Jan. 17 it will have will have a new registration system in place, allowing for a more user-friendly registration experience online, in-person and over the phone. To prepare for this new system, online registration at www.miRecConnect.com, and telephone credit card registrations, are both unavailable starting on Dec. 1. Patrons will still be able to view courses online, but unable to register.

Anyone needing to register for a winter 2018 recreation course, will either need to visit the community center in person to make payment, or fill out a printed registration form and mail it with payment (by check) to the community center. Call staff for assistance or with questions about course availability at 206-275-7609.

Health insurance open enrollment is underway

Open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is underway until Jan. 15, 2018, with outreach events continuing through December all over King County.

Insurance plans have changed a lot this year and there are still many affordable choices available. The best approach is to shop and compare at Washington Healthplanfinder.

More enrollment information — and a calendar of events — is available at King County’s special website: www.kingcounty.gov/coverage.

MIPD operates on tight budget, city says

Expenses in the Mercer Island Police Department have entered into the public dialogue on the city’s financial challenges, and the city addressed concerns and questions in its recent newsletter. According to the city, MIPD cut $182,000 in an effort to help the city reduce expenses over recent years. The city is grappling with a structural imbalance in its budget: revenues rely heavily on property taxes, which are capped at 1 percent growth per year, and are easily outpaced by staff salaries, the cost of health care and the cost of materials and supplies.

The MIPD provides a full range of services that include 24/7 patrol officers, bicycle patrol, marine patrol and dive team, criminal investigations, records and evidence personnel and the city’s emergency preparedness program.

The MIPD cuts included elimination of the Eastside Narcotics Task Force Detective position in 2016, moving officers to a 12-hour shift schedule in order to reduce overtime expenses, and extending its patrol car lifespan from three to four years, making 2017 the fourth year of service for those hard-working vehicles.

New revenues of $40,000 in 2017 came from a state parks grant helping cover the marine patrol’s special events expenses. The MIPD already receives approximately $80,000 in vessel registration fees and charges the city of Renton $70,000 for marine patrol service; it also receives $25,000 from the school district to partially fund the school resource officer’s time; and imposes fines for repeated false alarm incidents at the same address.

“The city’s ongoing structural imbalance in the budget is definitely a challenge,” said Chief Ed Holmes, who’s been at the Police Department since 1994. “It means we must continually examine our businesses practices for any additional savings while maintaining the level of service and low crime rates that the community here has come to expect. Responding to emergency calls will always remain our top priority.”

See www.mercergov.org for more.

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