South Whidbey parks levy up for renewal

Tax on Aug. 7 primary election ballot

Renewing a tax that supports the operating and maintenance budget of South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District will be on the Aug. 7 ballot of registered voters living within the district.

Called Proposition No. 1, it imposes regular property tax levies of 20 cents or less per $1,000 of assessed valuation from 2019 to 2022.

The current levy expires Dec. 31.

“For a homeowner with a $250,000 home, the cost per year will go from $45 today to $50 for the next four-year period,” said Matt Simms, one of five volunteer elected Parks and Recreation District commissioners.

“Historically, the parks levy has risen very slowly over time roughly at the rate of inflation, based primarily on covering increases in costs of supplies, materials, equipment and labor associated with operating and maintaining our parks and recreational programs,” Simms added.

Voters approved the current levy by more than 65 percent.

The levy has been the primary source of funding for the parks district since it was created in 1983 with 40 acres of donated land near South Whidbey High School now known as Community Park.

Over the years, it has built four baseball fields, soccer fields, an administrative building, playground, skate park, restrooms and trails through Community Park.

Its staff includes six full time employees and its annual budget is around $1 million, said Director Doug Coutts.

It maintains grass soccer, baseball and softball fields, picnic areas and offers summer camps and dozens of programs throughout the year for children, adults and even dogs.

It also maintains Deer Lake, Goss Lake and Lone Lake.

INFORMATIONAL SESSIONS SCHEDULED

Three community informational sessions about the levy have been scheduled:

  • 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 25, at Clinton Community Hall
  • 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 31, at Freeland Library
  • 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 2, at the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District Administrative Offices, 5475 Maxwelton Road, Langley.
  • For more information: www.swparks.org

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