Park District sets levy

In a recent letter from the Island County Auditor, junior taxing districts received advice to start planning for this fall’s primary and general elections and informing the public on ballot issues and levies.

In preparation for the primary election Sept. 20, North Whidbey Park and Recreation District commissioners voted to set the district’s newly proposed six-year levy at 18 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. This new levy will replace the current levy which expires this year.

Park and Recreation District Director Craig Carlson said this new rate is a two cent drop from the current maximum levy rate, which is 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Carlson said due to yearly one cent adjustments allowed in levy rates, however, the 20 cent levy rate has dropped over the past several years to its current rate of 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Carlson said 18 cents per $1,000 is the maximum rate set for the new levy, meaning that this rate could fluctuate one cent each year but never above 18 cents.

Commissioner Tom Johnson said setting the levy rate at 18 cents per $1,000 would allow the district to cover its maintenance and operation expenditures from 2006 to 2011 without going into debt, even if the levy fee drops one cent each year as he predicted it will do. Rates typically drop as property values increase.

Carlson said in addition to the 20 cent levy rate passed for the district’s last levy election, voters also approved a 12 cent levy rate to pay off the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool, which ended in 2001.

“So the rate has dropped,” he said. “Now it’s just to maintain and operate the park district.”

He added that this levy would assist the district with operations and maintenance of the pool, local parks, an off leash dog park, the skate park, the Clover Valley ball fields and other programs and events the district provides.

“We’re looking at making these as accessible to as many people as possible,” Carlson said.

To help with these costs, the district uses revenue brought in from the pool and several yearly events, but the district is not self sustaining, and Carlson said assistance is needed to maintain services and programs.

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