By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Peninsula Daily News
SEQUIM –– Commissioners for the public Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center will meet Wednesday to discuss asking voters for a maintenance and operations levy.
The Clallam County Park and Recreation District 1 facility known by the acronym SARC has operated without tax funding since 2003.
Board president Frank Pickering, though, said the 26-year-old facility now needs to replace several pieces of aging infrastructure.
“Looking at the financials, looking at how the equipment is really starting to show its age, we think we’re going to need help,” Pickering said.
“A lot of this stuff is at the end of its life now.”
The board meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Fifth Avenue Retirement Center, 500 W. Hendrickson Road.
SARC commissioners will also have a special meeting on the levy in the gymnasium at SARC, 610 N. Fifth Ave., at 5:30 p.m. July 23.
A preliminary proposal the board will consider would be to tax property owners within the park district 12 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value for each of the next six years.
That would generate roughly $416,000 a year.
SARC Executive Director Scott Deschenes said the board is expected to discuss the levy rate at Wednesday’s meeting, though he said a levy rate would likely be in that ballpark.
“I think by the July 23 meeting, we’ll have more solid information on that,” Deschenes said.
A 12 cent levy would add about $26.04 to the annual property tax bill of the owner of a $217,000 house; the average value in the district.
If the board goes ahead with the levy request, it would most likely go on the ballot next February.
Earlier this year, City Councilman Ken Hays, a local architect, spearheaded reviews of SARC’s equipment, structure and utility usage that concluded many costly repairs need to be made, Deschenes said.
Copies of those reports will be available at the SARC commission’s meetings.
Deschenes noted SARC covers 87 percent of its costs through user fees, above the national standard of 65 percent for similar facilities.
Built with a $2 million voter-approved bond in 1988, SARC has more than 3,000 members from across the North Olympic Peninsula and draws nearly 250,000 visitors each year, Deschenes said.
That bond was paid off in 2004.
For more information about SARC, phone 360-683-3344 or visit www.sarcfitness.com.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at email@example.com.