North Whidbey Park and Recreation board unanimously voted last Thursday to refloat a levy in November in the latest effort to reopen the Oak Harbor pool.
The pool district is seeking voter approval for 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. If it passes, a homeowner would pay about $60 per year on a home valued at $300,000.
Last year’s levy request was 17 cents per $1,000. It failed to pass, but the park commissioners said they are hopeful they can generate enough support to pass the higher levy rate this time around.
The pool was shuttered after the levy failed last year.
Commissioner Shane Hoffmire agreed with the higher rate, and said that he thought the higher amount reflects the higher cost of living, and compared it to the increases in the minimum wage.
The increased rate would allow the pool to replace necessary equipment, have additional programs, and build financial reserves.
“With a higher levy amount we need to set part of it aside,” Commissioner Patricia Hardin said.
“Gradually we can get the roof fixed [and] things that are big money expenses.”
The commissioners also discussed the pool director vacancy and possible solutions of how to fix it. The commissioners agreed that they did not have enough money to pay for a full-time position, but that they may be able to pay for a temporary, part-time position.
Hoffmire suggested that a community member may be willing to volunteer for the position, but Commissioner Wendy Shingleton said that a paid position creates a “committed relationship” between the person and the pool.
Hardin also presented a cost estimate for the soft reopening of the pool.
The cost is estimated to be $279,000 for hiring and training staff, cleaning the pool, replacing necessary equipment, and other reopening costs.
The park commissioners said they thought the cost could be lowered through community partnerships, adjusted hours, and contracts with outside groups like the Navy and private clubs.
A community workshop meeting is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 for the public to give comment about the soft reopening costs of the pool.
A special meeting is planned to follow.
The pool board’s next regular meeting is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23.