SEATTLE -- Voters have a big decision to make next month when it comes to paying and maintaining Seattle s parks, the zoo and aquarium.

Proposition 1 would replace an expiring park levy, but it would also create a new Seattle Park District made up of the mayor and city council that opponents say could ultimately have the power to raise property taxes without voter approval.

Supporters say the park district would provide stable and dedicated funding for parks.

It s bold move. It s a new way of funding parks around the country and around the state. Park districts are critical in great systems, Minneapolis and Chicago. It s a bold move, but a necessary move. I hope we don t lose the courage to take that step said Thatcher Bailey with Seattle Parks Foundation.

But opponents have a big problem with the Mayor and city council members heading up the park district and that they would have the power to raise and collect property taxes for parks without voter approval.

The only people who can take it away will be city council acting as the board of directors and that to me is just wrong. So, if you love your parks, you want to vote no and demand a levy, said Don Harper with Our Parks Forever.

Prop. 1 is aimed at addressing a nearly $270 million dollar maintenance backlog. Supporters point out that passing Prop 1 would cost the average homeowner about $4 more per month than the current parks levy which is set to expire at the end of this year.

August 5 is the primary election deadline.

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