Letter: Vote yes to keep parks funded

Editor,

On the Aug. 7 ballot South Whidbey voters are being asked to consider funding the parks system for the four years beginning in 2019.

This ballot issue is a replacement of the expiring maintenance and operations levy, and concerns the funding of the district’s operations. The levy rate will be 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

The levy is “for maintenance and operation of its parks and recreation facilities and programs…” A “yes” vote will keep the parks funded and open through 2023. This includes Community Park, Deer Lake, Goss Lake, Lone Lake, Trustland Trails and the Sports Complex, and all recreational programs including youth athletics, adult sports leagues, arts and crafts and dog training programs.

Your park district is a distinct unit of local government and is governed by a board of five volunteer elected commissioners. The current levy expires at the end of this year, and your vote supports funding the parks for another four years.

The District draws its revenues from the maintenance and operations levy, program fees, rental/concession fees, interest and other miscellaneous revenues. Of these revenue sources, the maintenance and operations levy provides the greatest percentage of the revenue at approximately 84 percent, with program fees providing and additional 15 percent. The other three categories combined make up the remaining 1 percent.

The district operates with a small staff of three office personnel and three maintenance employees who oversee and administer all district recreation programs and maintain more than 350 acres of district-managed property across five park sites on South Whidbey.

The elected board of commissioners work with the staff to ensure the parks system is managed within an annual budget that comes directly from the voted levy in place at the beginning of each calendar year. Audits of district finances are conducted annually by the State of Washington. As a point of reference, all state audits of district finances during the term of the existing maintenance and operations levy were passed with no discrepancies noted.

For more information please contact the district staff at 360-221-5484, or contact one of your commissioners.

Mark Helpenstell, Chairman

South Whidbey Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners

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