Parks district to discuss budget plans, possible ballot measures

Voters may face a trio of ballot measures from the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District next year.

How much the set of tax levies will cost property owners — and when or even if all of them will appear on the ballot — will be discussed by park commissioners during a special budget workshop at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, at Rockhoppers in Clinton.

The district is considering asking voters to approve a three-part levy and bond plan in 2008.

“No course of action has been finalized nor dollar amounts determined,” board member Allison Tapert said.

“The board is considering a larger bond request in August 2008 to help fund a new aquatics center, among other options,” she added.

A maintenance-and-operations levy will likely land on the ballot first.

In the spring, the district expects to ask for a renewal of its regular property tax levy.

The two-year levy would be assessed at the same rate, currently 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. For a median-priced home valued at $400,000, the levy will be $60 a year.

District voters last approved a maintenance-and-operation levy in February 2004. The district had been at the same levy rate since 1998 while doubling the size of its playfields.

The second step is a capital projects “mini-bond” designed to pay for the purchase of the Island Greens golf course on French Road, the construction of new picnic shelters, renovations at Castle Park, the installation of better drainage under the ball fields, paving and a new roof for the district’s administrative building.

The capital projects bonds would be the first since April 2000, when voters approved a bond of nearly $1.3 million to buy 30 acres of new park land and to install new soccer fields, trails, parking and restroom facilities. Needing 60 percent voter approval, the measure squeaked by with a 61 percent approval level.

The third potential ballot measure next year may be a bond for a recreation and aquatic center on Maxwelton Road.

In January, Seattle consultant firm MacLeod Reckord discussed the development of a master plan for a Community Park that included several options for a new pool. Four options were presented, and the most popular site was near the old house at the entrance to the Community Park on Maxwelton Road.

The master plan will include park improvements for the next 10 or 15 years. The cost of the improvements in the plan, including the pool, gymnasium, recreation center and covered tennis courts could be $14 to $16 million.

The board’s next regular meeting will be 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the Community Health Services building, 5475 Maxwelton Road.

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