Members of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District approved wording of a $20 million bond over a 20-period year for recreation center expansion in the year 2020.
After the unanimous vote by board members Edward Hassan, Veronica Russell, Mike Hinton, Mills said board members want the public to realize that the numbers are not merely synchronous, but come after months of discussion and public input. Board chairman Alan Evans was absent.
“We know people like round numbers, but we’d like to talk about increased programs, we’d like to talk about larger classes for the kids, we want to talk about how we’re going to provide longer and better hours in the wintertime,” Mills said at Tuesday’s meeting at the Bob Chisholm Community Center. “Our goal is to make this something that is long-lasting.”
If approved, voters would fund construction of a recreation center featuring an indoor gym space, indoor walking track, group fitness, weight room and cardiovascular rooms. The funds would expand preschool and youth program space.
The measure addresses construction of family changing rooms, redeveloping current district space, parking an site improvements.
The estimated tax rate for the bonds is 70 cents per $1,000 property value, or $140 annually for a home with an assessed value of $200,000.
Construction could start in “really late 2019 or early in 2020,” with about a year-and-a-half building period,
With a 20-year payoff period and an $18 million expansion scenario, the tax impact to the owner of a $200,000 property would be about $126 per year. The impact for a $400,000 property would be about double that.
The district will submit filings with the county to place the ballot measure on the November ballot, according to David Ulbricht, director of advisory services of the Special Districts Association of Oregon, which provides legislative representation to special districts throughout the state.
Ulbricht participated in Tuesday’s meeting via phone.
Election paperwork must be filed by mid-August, he added.
Revenue, tax concerns
The bond will be decided in November by voters of the independent taxing district, who include most residents of the Seaside School District, excluding Cannon Beach and Gearhart.
The recreation center bond is among several bond requests that will go before voters in November.
Bond financing will be sought for school improvements in Warrenton and Astoria and an expanded Clatsop County Jail.
Seaside School District voters approved a $99.7 million bond measure for a new campus in the Southeast Hills in November 2016.
Skyler Archibald, executive director of the recreation district, presented a revenue comparison showing total funds from aquatics, the Bob Chisholm Community Center, recreation, special events and youth centers totaling just under $2.16 million in 2017-18, down from more than $2.17 million the previous year.
Archibald attributed the dip to several factors, including an extended pool closure for upgrades.
Seaside resident John Morrison said revenue numbers were “flat” and “not sustainable.”
“My concern is this will fail, given the need because the perception of $20 million on the back of $100 million,” Morrison said, referring to the Seaside School District bond issue.
Morrison said he sought projections of district growth, numbers of visits and other metrics. “In order for it to pass, there’s got to be a little better story, if you will.”
Mills said he would like the public to understand the board’s process in selecting the terms of the bond proposal.
“When we looked at all the options from a 30-, to a 25-, to a 20-, to a 15- and a 10-year bond, how it would impact their taxes, we found this to be the least burdensome to them with the greatest amount of gain,” Mills said. “Our goal at the end of the day is to better the community.”