North Whidbey Pool, Park and Recreation District is asking for a reasonable tax increase this election to keep a valuable community facility open.
North Whidbey voters should say “yes” to the property-tax levy, but we advise post-election vigilance in ensuring the proceeds are used as taxpayers intend. Attend the park board’s public meetings, and speak out when you want a say in how the public’s money is being spent.
Government functions better with public involvement.
John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool in Oak Harbor was closed days after a replacement levy failed to reach a supermajority in last year’s general election.
The levy funds a large portion of the district’s expenses, which are minimal.
If this latest levy is passed, it would impose a property tax of 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. That’s $60 a year for the owner of a $300,000 home located within the pool district.
Thanks to the efforts of Juli Brooks Leete, head of the North Whidbey Community Pool and Recreation Foundation, as well as the school district, several businesses and nonprofit groups, enough money was raised to open the pool on a limited schedule earlier this month.
Hopefully, this isn’t a temporary situation. The park district only has enough money to keep it open for a short time without money from a levy.
While being a commissioner for the recreation district can often be a thankless task, the current board members are acting as good stewards and, so far, have avoided the seemingly non-stop controversies plaguing their predecessors.
The pool is a valuable community asset, too valuable to be shuttered and unused. Thousands of children learned to swim there, an important skill for those living on an island. It’s been a valuable resource for people of all ages to get exercise, particularly those who need low-impact activity.
And swimming and splashing in the water is just plain fun.
This editorial originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.