Park district director resigns, other staff cut

North Whidbey Pool, Park and Recreation District is tightening its purse strings again.

The district’s board of commissioners said it is making additional cuts in staffing.

Executive Director Steve McCaslin tendered his resignation. His last day is today, Saturday, March 31.

“I set the budget with my tenure ending the end of April, unless there was a financial change in the district,” McCaslin said in his resignation.

Leaving early is, he explained, in the best financial interest of the district.

“There were some unexpected costs that already exceeded the budget for the year,” McCaslin told commissioners. “Savings from my early departure and other adjustments made will help the district remain financially viable through the next levy vote and 2018.”

Per McCaslin’s contract, he’s required to give 30 days notice under normal circumstances. However, the district is not operating under normal circumstances, said board President Sean Merrill.

The board accepted McCaslin’s resignation.

“We’re as shut down as we can be,” Merrill said.

It’s gotten to the point that light bulbs are being removed to save on electrical costs. The boiler was turned off as well.

The pool deck was 53 degrees last week during the regular board meeting.

“It’s a little chilly out there, but that’s the cost of not having any money,” Merrill said.

The district also shut down to the point that it doesn’t need a full-time maintenance director. That position will start gearing down in the coming weeks, making sure district assets are prepared, essentially, for hibernation.

Come mid-April, maintenance will be cut to just eight hours a week to en-sure the facilities are in order and pH levels are appropriate.

“Fundamentally it just doesn’t viably in the long term make sense to keep someone on full time,” Merrill said.

Savings from cutting McCaslin early and cutting maintenance hours will save the district roughly $30,000.

“That’s significant considering our shoestring budget,” Merrill said.

The district ran a renewal levy in August and November of 2017 and both failed. It can rerun the levy, its primary source of funding, in November 2018.

Meanwhile, the North Whidbey Community Pool & Recreation Foundation is raising money in a variety of ways in hopes of reopening the pool.

• For information on the foundation, go to www.face book.com/North-Whidbey-Community-Pool-Recreation-Foundation-12094805025 29288/Foundation- 1209480502529288/

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Photo by The Everett Herald / 2016
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