Would you pay more taxes for a community pool?

South Whidbey Parks survey wants to know

Your taxes are at work all around — fire, police, public schools, city hall, county roads, state ferries.

But rarely are you asked how you want that money spent.

Now’s your chance.

What projects do you think South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District should tackle? Campgrounds? Artificial turf? A pool facility? Multi-purpose recreation center?

And would you be willing to pay more taxes toward such community projects?

The Parks district has created an online survey to gauge interest on various capital projects of its comprehensive plan, also known as a wish list.

They’re officially called “conceptual unfunded projects” that the board of commissioners has been considering in its comprehensive plan, Parks director Doug Coutts explained.

The survey, developed by surveymonkey.com, provides a brief description of each project and asks people to prioritize seven possible projects. It’s online until Feb. 15.

It consists of nine questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete, Coutts said.

The survey states the projects are too costly to be funded by the regular district operating budget that is used to operate and maintain the current Parks system.

While outside sources of revenue could be pursued, such as grants, public/private partnerships or capital campaigns, some of the projects would require some sort of publicly-voted bond measure.

Questions gauge people’s level of support for a potential publicly-voted bond issue. Operating and maintaining some of the proposed facilities would also mean an increase for all property district taxpayers in the form of a levy, which would require a vote.

Any bond measure would raise money for project funding by increasing property taxes for all constituents for the length of the bond payback period, the survey explains. A rough estimate of the annual tax cost to a homeowner with a $300,000 property assessment is used for each project in the survey.

“The numbers are just to give a rough idea of potential cost of a bond issue,” Coutts explained.

For example, the survey states that building an aquatic facility would cost an additional $27 in annual property taxes.

“The numbers are rough calculations of a bond issue on a 20-year payback with a 4 percent interest rate,” Coutts explained. The estimates use construction costs based on costs to build similar facilities in other parts of the state or country.

User fees could help pay for the maintenance and operation of a new facility but tax support would also likely be needed.

Find the Parks project survey at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/5CLR27H

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