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By Jaryd Cline
Sports Editor 

Parks and Rec seeks new levy

 

Jaryd Cline

With the Central Klickitat County Park and Recreation District’s (CKCPRD) current maintenance and operation levy expiring at the end of the year, the district is going to the voters in hopes of getting a replacement levy accepted for 2018 through 2023.

The levy, which is on ballots that arrived in mailboxes late last week, is a replacement to the 2012 levy, not an additional cost. It calls for a 27 cent cost per $1,000 of assessed property value. For an average home in the district, according to Central Klickitat County Park & Recreation District Manager Lori Anderson, the cost would be about $39.15 per year, or $3.20 per month.

The previous levy passed in 2012 had a cost of 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Currently still operating on the original budget that was designed just for the swimming pool for the three months of summer, the CKCPRD is stretched thin from keeping the pool open six months instead of three, while also running a handful of community programs that weren’t included on the original budget, according to District Chairman Jennifer Smith.

“We just keep stretching (the budget) more,” Smith said. “We have it stretched to six months of the swimming pool and all of these programs. The increase in minimum wage has significantly impacted the budget, current minimum wage is $11 per hour and will go up to $13.50 per hour in 2020.”

The CKCPRD funds more than just the swimming pool, and the district created and distributed handy, informative fact sheets identifying what all the parks and recreation district does.

“The truth is, I think when people read through (the flyer), it’s a good representation of what we do, but people don’t realize the scope of what we do,” Smith said. “They might know that we do swim lessons and the trails or they might know that we do youth soccer, but they don’t know that we do everything.”

First and foremost, the majority of the budget goes to pool upkeep and utilities. In the last few years, the CKCPRD has taken on some additional costs of running a handful of extra programs such as the youth soccer and youth football programs. Around 120 kids compete in youth soccer each fall while youth football has turnouts of approximately 60 kids.

It also has provided swim lessons to over 1586 kids from the following school districts Goldendale, Centerville, Klickitat, Wishram, Roosevelt and Sherman County Youth Programs since 2012. CKCPRD charges a fee to the school districts for these lessons. While also providing group swimming lessons to over 1558 youth based on the American Red Cross learn to swim program.

Another source of income comes from offering First Aid/CPR Training primarily to local businesses and organizations. Since 2008 over 500 individuals were certified in First Aid/CPR, by Lori Anderson who is certified to not only teach American Red Cross Lifeguard Classes but also Red Cross First aid/CPR classes. The pool also has drawn over 16,000 people in each of the previous two years, and nearly 10,000 people so far this year have used the pool.

The CKCPRD also upkeeps the Little Klickitat River Trail, as well as the new disc golf course that was installed last fall.

The levy needs a 60 percent voter approval to pass, and is also dependent on having enough voters to certify the election which requires a turnout of at least 40% of the voters from the last general election (November 2016).

According to the county auditor, at least 1,564 people need to vote to validate the election.

Smith was confident the levy will pass, but if it does not, all the CKCPRD programs would run until the end of the year, then be forced to close in 2018.

“We would finish operating through the end of this year but we wouldn’t continue these programs or open the pool back up (in 2018) if we don’t get the levy passed,” Smith said.

 

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