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Opinion: The voters have spoken – back to business for SARC board

Opinion by Lois Krafsky-Perry
for Citizen Review

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sequim, WA – With the 60-40 vote against a new Metropolitan Park District, it is time for the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center’s (SARC) elected board to get to work. It is the responsibility of that board to fulfill their duties. It is not bail-out time for them, as some assumed.

Our community in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley, in good faith, originally voted for a swimming pool.  That did not include additional buildings on additional real estate, some of which SARC still owns.  The $85,000 slide purchased by SARC which is hardly ever used, was another bad decision.

There was approximately a million dollars in funds, in more than one bank, a little more than 14 years ago: more efficient use of the money could have been found.

After voting for a pool and paying for it over many years with property taxes, the community is not happy.  “Where is our investment?” they ask. The Clallam County Park and Recreation District #1 was established, and the voters said, “yes” in 1984, with an uphill climb to get this pool for our community.  The pool opened in the Spring of 1988.

Poor management, some in the past, has not helped the situation in which we now find ourselves.  Again, it is the job of the elected board to do their own business and not be willing to hand over our pool, which this community did want.  Many people who voted, “no” for the metro fiasco, still want SARC, despite the accusations flying around that they were not supporting when they did not join the “give-away” throng.  Many of the new people, from wherever, who have created this fiasco, do not even know our history.  Being publicly called, “naysayers”, when people do not want to join their party, was not a smart move by them.  Some of those activists do not even live here.

The City partnership —who trusts that?  And that is even another concern. City buildings and increased large water bills, as an example, have stung many folks.  Being out there and listening to the community, I have heard how they cannot pay their taxes while the City is building structures and pressing people for more tax dollars.

I know the SARC board, if some do not resign, have the tools to do the job.  When they ran for election, they made promises.  Let’s hope they will honor those promises. Let’s also hope there are individual thinkers there and will refuse the. “team player” theory.

Director Scott Deschenes is doing a good job and he inherited most of this, but I am sure he did his homework before he took the job.

It can be done and our pool can be saved.  When it first started, there were volunteers who received family entrance to the pool as pay.  We could have more volunteers and less paid help.

Could they sell some nearby land? Not sure how that would work now, but it may be a possibility.

If they had run the last levy again, it could have passed and we would have utilized this time for that levy.  They confused and clouded that with this failed plan.   I was told it would be too expensive to run that levy again at this time, but this last thrust has cost much more.

Let’s hope the board takes their job seriously and does first things first, such as save the pool. This is what our community voted for, the swimming pool.

This isn’t the first time we’ve addressed the SARC situation.

Read the article from 2001: SARC makes big plans for tax dollars.

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(Lois Krafsky-Perry worked at SARC from 1988-1998 as a Hydrofit instructor, swim instructor and lifeguard.  She ran for the SARC board in 2001.)

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