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Sequim, WA: SARC plans for the future

By Lois Krafsky-Perry
for  Citizen Review

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sequim, WA – The five board members of the Clallam County Park & Recreation District 1 (also known as SARC – Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center) met August 18, at the Sequim library. Forty-eight citizens attended the special meeting, which was announced the previous day. Also present was the SARC secretary and SARC attorney Craig Miller.

It was announced that the Board was to make a decision on a Resolution (No. 08-18-2015-01) – a Resolution of the Board of Commissioners of Clallam County Park and Recreation District No. 1.  Consolidating Funds.

Section 1 of the Resolution states that all funds currently contained within the Reserve Fund Number 66853 and the Construction and Equipment Fund 66854 are hereby transferred to the General Fund Number 66851.

Section 2 calls for Fund Numbers 66853 and 66854 to be closed.

The Resolution passed with a unanimous vote, by the Board.  It was adopted before public testimony was allowed.

Fund Balances as of July 31, 2015.  General Fund $86,520.60—Reserve Fund $83,622.—Construction Equipment Fund $91,770.47. The total is $261.913.93.

According to Director Scott Deschenes, the membership was 2,400 passholders, when he was hired in 2013.  He said there is 3,165 membership, who are passholders now.

Board Chair Frank Pickering stated that the goal is to find ways to fix SARC. He said action is needed today, but encouraged people to submit suggestions.  “They will be looked at,” he affirmed.

A chart was prepared, which gave four levy options.  “Failed SARC Levy Options” was submitted,  which gave s breakdown on fees and pool hours. It also listed closure dates, depending on what option was determined.

The chart gave four options numbers 1, 1a, 2, 2b.

Notes at the bottom of the chart.
1.  There will be reduced usage due to uncertainty along with reduction of hours and services.
2.   SARC needs about $75,000 left in Reserve Funds to process refunds and winterize.
3.   If insufficient funds, a Grand Jury may force a levy.

Before public testimony, the Board unanimously passed Option 1a, which follows:

  • The entire facility would be open with reduced hours.  Hours reduced by 51 %.
  • Current average monthly payroll   $56,000.00 reduced hour percentage 0.51.  Monthly payroll with reduced hours—$28,560.00
  • Current average monthly expenses—$37,012.33 (other than payroll) 0.51.
  • Monthly expenses with  reduced hours $18,876.29.
  • Payroll $28,560.00—Other expenses $18,876.29
  • Average monthly expense with reduced hours & pool open—$47,436.29.
  • Current average revenue  $77,966.67.
  • Estimated reduced usage  50%
  • Average monthly revenue  $38,983.33.

Monthly loss with plan 1a–$8,452.96.

Estimated closure date  September 30, 2016.

Reserve balance at that date—-$77,408.98.

Option 1a would allow the entire facility to be open, with reduced hours. With current staffing levels, including instructors, lifeguards, cashiers, custodians, and management team.

  • Current hours—-5:30 am -9 pm.     Reduced hours—8 am-1 pm.   (Mon-Fri)
  • Saturday.  Current hours  8 am-7 pm.  Reduced hours -9 am -1 pm.
  • Sunday–Closed
  • Hours reduced from 95.5 to 49 hours for the week.

Public testimony was allowed after the Resolution and Option 1a was established by unanimous Board vote.

The first speaker was Sequim resident Em Hutchins. She suggested to the  Board to consider ways of finding funds, such as the Hospital Guild, in Sequim. “We did it,” she said.

Hutchins shared they had a strong guild just shy of $2,000,000 given to the community. She urged the Board to get this out to the public.  “It is tax deductible,” she said. She stated  they raised a lot (monetary) with Hospice and the Yacht Club.

There was interest and discussion on this possibility, and Melinda Griffith said,”I think this is a  great idea.  I would love to do that.” Griffith said she would be willing to act as a liaison.

Marion Alexander, who is retired from the military said he had comments similar to Em’s.  He stated with $200,000 a year deficit, “I believe we could raise $200,000 if we try.” He stated he would contribute in this way but,” not with the City.”

Another gentleman encouraged the Board, ” Run as a business, get a good business plan, you have a handle on this,” he said.

A letter was submitted by Paul McHugh, a former SARC Board member who shared his observations and made suggestions. He stated he was not for the Municipal idea.

McHugh wrote, “the voters have spoken.  SARC will move forward as a user supporter facility.  While this may not have been your vision, or that of previous boards of commissioners, it is a reality at this point, as far as I am concerned. I would hope the commissioners would respect this and move forward without animosity and find a way to fairly distribute the cost of operating and maintain SARC within the community of folks that are using and supporting it now while at the same time seeking ways to save costs without diminishing the services offered.”

McHugh then made suggestions for SARC’s survival.  “Direct your executive director to reduce expenses by $100,000 without reducing hours and levels of service. Pass rates need to be increased.  On an annual basis pass rates need to go up to $125. per pass All other pass rates (shorter terms) need to increase on the same or slightly higher pro-rate basis.”

McHugh made suggestions about pass prices and also suggested doubling the entry price to $14.00. He mentioned scholarships and shared ideas about entry system for weight rooms and extending hours for some areas of the facility.  “If the cost savings could be achieved and based on the current # of passholders, the suggestions I have made should generate $394,000.00 in new pass holder revenues combined with $100,000.00 in operational cost savings for a total of $494,000.00. This amount is in excess of the amount the district expected to receive with the .12 cents per thousand proposed and defeated earlier,” he wrote.

Bill Stearn, an early morning swimmer, said,”we are buying time, what are we doing with that time.” he asked.  He later said he had taken a poll of people in his area, and they do not want taxes for anything.

Chuck Lamb, a former life guard suggested ways to plan funds.  Lamb, who had worked in former business with a railroad said, “no operation is too small to look at.” He observed ways to cut down expenses.

Eckart Mildenstein said he was impressed with the support of the community.  He encouraged another try at a vote, of the people. “make it more attractive and appeal again,” suggested Mildenstein.  He said he was discouraged with the total lack of disclosure. which was a problem for him.

Jim Weatherly  asked the Board to not consider working with the YMCA. He was a former program director with the YMCA. “I am willing to work on grants, but I have a deep concern about a partnership with the Y way more than the City,” he admitted.

Several other speakers offered ideas to the Board.  The leanings of the attendees is to make SARC succeed and people are willing to help.


Click here to review the SARC May 2015 Profit & Loss Statement >>> SARC May 2015 P & L

which can also be viewed at the SARC website here >>>

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