Letters | Protect our community center, park and pool: Vote.
November 1, 2011 · 4:12 PM
In just nine years under local control, Si View Community Center, Park and Pool has truly become a center in our community. Family Nights, Farmers Market, exercise classes, youth sports, adult recreation leagues, arts programming and much more fill our days and facility. The place is alive with healthy activity.
Upper Valley voters overwhelmingly approved the creation of the locally-controlled Si View Metropolitan Park District in 2003 to save Si View Community Center, Park and Pool, which King County had closed. Your five local elected park commissioners are proud of our District staff’s work to re-vitalize our community center and make it vibrant. The Si View District has successfully partnered with other entities including the school district, City of North Bend, Meadowbrook, and the Senior Center to provide additional educational and recreational opportunities. Equally important, the District has been recognized for its fiscal responsibility, earning a very desirable AA bond rating recently.
Due to a ‘perfect storm’ of complicated tax rules, junior taxing district status, and lower property values, Si View’s dedicated tax revenue is almost completely cut for next year. About 84% of our annual tax funding will be eliminated. We rely on that revenue to operate the District’s programs, and to maintain our well-loved pool, buildings and fields. The Community Center, Park and Pool will all either be closed or drastically cut back unless voters take action.
On November 8, voters will determine the fate of two ballot measures. The first (Proposition 1) re-allocates some of our dedicated revenue back to the District, without raising property taxes from 2011 levels. The second one (Proposition 2) is a one-year Maintenance & Operations Levy to restore the rest of our already authorized funding, without raising property taxes from 2011 levels.
At our busy, small pool, hundreds of children learn to swim each year but every aging pool is very expensive to maintain and requires subsidies to stay open. We are proud that our programming revenue over the past several years has grown quickly so in future we can rely less on tax revenue and more on earned revenue. However, we cannot earn revenue and run our programs without any tax revenue in 2012.
If these measures fail in November and they are put back on the ballot in 2012, programming and staff will have already been cut severely. The break in operations and in the tax revenue collection cycle (taxes not collected until 2013), will be a major setback, both in services and programs provided, and an increase in costs to get a new staff together, trained and strong again.
We urge voters to protect and maintain our community center, park and pool by voting yes for Propositions 1 & 2.
Your Local Commissioners, Si View Park District
Brenden Elwood, Linda Grez, Susan Kelly, Mark Joselyn and Bud Raisio