Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Here are facts on pool

While it seldom makes sense to conduct a debate in the newspaper, there were enough inaccuracies in the April 5 “Sound Off “ column regarding the North Whidbey Parks and Recreation District that the voters deserve to hear the facts.

1)Of the five commissioners currently sitting, three were members of the board in June, 1999, when the levy request was approved by the district.

2)The verbatim language from Resolution 99-66 says, in pertinent part, “Section 2. Authorization of Use of Funds”: The District shall apply levy proceeds for the maintenance and operation of recreational programs, including the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool Facility and other recreational programs as directed by the Board of Commissioners.”

3)The calendar 2003 budget for the District calls for the expenditure of $951,000. Of that amount, $402,000 has been earmarked for replacement of capital equipment. Only $30,000 was budgeted for non-aquatic programs.

4)In March, 2003, the Commission, on a vote of 4 - 1, agreed to enter into a contract with Boys and Girls Club to provide summer recreational programs to District youth. The contract will be limited to $20,000; there is no “giveaway.” The Commissioners chose this course because they saw no need for the District to duplicate the infrastructure necessary to bring these programs to our youth.

5)Last fall the District completed the first phase of the “… approximately $500,000 in deferred maintenance . . .” by replacing the boiler, the secondary hot water heat, and the motor control panel. That investment totaled in excess of $180,000. Already this year the Board has approved the replacement of the HVAC system at a cost in excess of $260,000.

6)The 2003 budget approved in November also includes $297,000 for personnel expenses (salaries, wages, vacation, payroll taxes, etc.). The Director staffs the District within that maximum and in accordance with the compensation program guidelines currently in effect.

These are all facts. They can be confirmed by any voter with a simple visit to the North Whidbey Parks & Recreation District office. Voters also are encouraged to attend the monthly Commission meetings; the next is scheduled for Tuesday, April 15, at 7 p.m. at the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool Facility.

Fred C. Smyth


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