Reform pool, then save it
October 25, 2011 · Updated 12:32 PM
My family members use the pool frequently, so we get our benefit from the North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District’s real estate levy on the homes from Oak Harbor to Deception Pass. But I still feel it is not fair to fund the majority of the pool expense on the backs of the limited number of property owners who live on North Whidbey.
You can review the budget at www.oakharborpool.com. Click on “Public Information,” then click on “2011 Budget.” In my reading of the budget 94 percent of the funds go to pool functions. The total budget for 2011 is $994,300. The only park receiving funds is Clover Valley with $4,000. Other non-pool funding in the budget is $16,600 for City Beach life guards, running club 60 members $23,000 ($380 per member), soccer program $6,000, recreation programs and special events $5,000. Thus non-pool funding totals $54,600 which is 5.4 percent of the district’s annual budget.
I also have to question why the two swim clubs which have only 100 or so members get to use such a large portion of the pool time and are funded in the budget at near $100,000 (about $1,000 per member) including pay, taxes and benefits for their private swim coaches. I believe the clubs should fund their own expenses and not the NWPRD.
I don’t want the pool to close, I use it, but if we just keep passing the funding levy for the NWPRD every 6 years fair funding issues will never be addressed. The system will only address issues if forced to; if the NWPRD levy fails the pool will not close permanently, the users of the pool will find a fairer way to fund it.
Admission fees could be raised to the level Fidalgo Island pool users pay; have out-of-district users pay their fair share.
The Navy MWR should contribute some of what they save from not building and operating their own recreation pool. Remove the excesses in the budget, clubs with a small number of members should be self- funded. These changes and other ideas will allow the pool to continue operating for the benefit of its users.