Si View voters to decide on levy to fund new pool in North Bend

For the third time in four years, voters will weigh in on property tax to build a community pool

For the third time in four years, voters living within the Si View Parks District will weigh in on a property tax measure looking to build a new community pool in North Bend.

Si View officials and supporters have for years stressed the need for a new district pool, arguing the current facility is undersized, failing, and has no realistic options for renovation.

The district’s current pool in Si View Park was built in 1938, when just 600 people lived in North Bend. Today, the district has over 17,000 residents, according to Si View estimates. The pool regularly has capacity constraints and waitlists for youth swim lessons in the hundreds.

The current pool is also on its final legs, supporters say, with yard signs across the district displaying the slogan, “our pool is on borrowed time.” Officials stress the pool could close if a replacement is not funded.

“The facility we’re running is not sustainable and, at some point, it’s going to become too inefficient to keep running,” Park District Commissioner Mark Joselyn told the Valley Record last year.

Yet, despite the shortcomings of the current facility, getting enough voters on board with paying for its replacement has been a challenge, specifically due to the high threshold required for passage. That comes even after voters passed a levy lid lift in 2020 to support future pool operation costs.

Si View put similar pool facility measures on the ballot in 2020 and 2022. Both won support from a majority of voters — receiving 56% and 57% respectively — but neither crested the 60% approval rate needed to pass. The 2022 effort failed by less than 200 votes.

Similar to its predecessors, this year’s ballot measure asks voters to approve a property tax increase to cover a majority of design and construction costs to build a new aquatic facility.

The measure would raise $21.3 million in property tax revenue to support the $30.3 million design and construction of a new aquatic facility. Remaining costs would be covered by grants and the district’s capital fund.

For an $800,000 home, Si View officials estimate the yearly cost would be roughly $128.

The new facility would include a lap lane area for competitive swimmers, shallow pool space for swim lessons and therapeutic programs, limited mobility access spots, and additional dry space for classrooms and storage space, according to Si View officials.

“The new pool will offer modern amenities, and the drastically increased capacity will yield greater availability for more swim lessons and other aquatic activities alike, benefiting all ages,” Pete Morisseau, a member of Friends of Si View Pool, wrote in a statement in support of the levy.

“If this proposition fails, our community’s only public pool will likely close in the near future,” he added.

The Friends group has spent over $3,200 in support of the pool levy, according to filing data from the state Public Disclosure Commission.

There is no organized group in opposition to the proposal. The official opposition statement is written by Tim Noonan, a candidate running for Si View Park District Board Position 1. He argues the language of the levy is “broadly written,” and argues the proposal is unaffordable for seniors on fixed-incomes and young families.

Noonan’s original opposition statement was rejected by election officials for including an inaccurate quote, said Halei Watkins, a spokesperson for the King County Elections department. The quote was from Joselyn, a commissioner on the Si View Parks Board.

Morisseau, in a letter to the editor submitted to the Valley Record, has accused Noonan of attempting to mislead voters in his statement, including exaggerating the cost of the 2020 levy lid lift.

In his rebuttal statement, Noonan claims the annual cost of the 2020 lid lift for was over $260 a year for $500,000 home. The actual cost of levy for a half-million-dollar home has been between $35 to $22 per year.

The current levy rate is 4 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. That is down from a rate of 6 cents per $1,000 when it was first approved.

Voters should have received their ballots in the mail. Ballots should be returned to a dropbox or postmarked by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information.