So what happened to the "Pool" issue?

Post Reply
User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 2465
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: So what happened to the "Pool" issue?

Post by pasayten »

RE: Pasco PFD and 0.2% Sales Tax Addon
Matt Watkins
From:
pfd-watkins@pasco-wa.gov
To:
Ray Peterson
,
Melissa Blasdel

Fri, May 24 at 9:38 AM

It was a 50% + 1 vote proposition for the voters of the Public Facilities District…that are the same extents as the city limits. We worked with the county and our attorney to word the proposition.

And in our case it doesn’t expire. That was a choice made by the board members of the PFD I believe. I came on as executive director after the proposition passed.

Of course PFDs are bound by a special set of RCWs that are a bit different and more constraining as other municipalities (like cities and towns) and are a thing to become well-aquainted with.

Also, I believe 0.1% and 0.2% are the two options available for a ballot measure.

Do you have an actual PFD already? If not, formation of a new one isn’t trivial and would be a suggested study point. Ours grew out of some original funding available back in 2002 to help our friends at the Kennewick PFD actually as a regional project.

I hope this helps.

Matt



From: Ray Peterson <pasayten@yahoo.com>
Sent: Friday, May 24, 2024 9:26 AM
To: Matt Watkins <PFD-Watkins@pasco-wa.gov>; Melissa Blasdel <BlasdelCouncil@pasco-wa.gov>
Subject: Pasco PFD and 0.2% Sales Tax Addon

Hello,

I am Ray Peterson and live in Winthrop, WA. We have an old pool in Twisp and I am looking at options to help replace the pool. Your PFD is quite interesting and I have a couple of questions regarding the Sales Tax Proposition that was passed to support the new pool facility.

1. Was the Proposition a simple or 2/3 majority for passage?

2. Is the sales tax permanent or does it expire in some amount of years?

Thank You in advance.

Ray Peterson
425-239-3777
pasayten
Ray Peterson
User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 2465
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: So what happened to the "Pool" issue?

Post by pasayten »

Standing on the edge
MAY 23, 2024 BY METHOW VALLEY NEWS
We’ve had years like this before, when the odds of opening the Wagner Memorial Pool in Twisp for another summer season looked daunting as the first weeks of June approach. The venerable public asset, nearing six decades of service, has increasingly suffered the indignities of age — it leaks, it peels, its mechanical systems tucker out. Fixing the problems becomes more challenging and more costly, with a decreasing return on investment: the pool will never be repaired enough to last much longer, and continuing on that path is literally pouring money into a hole in the ground.

Then there’s the annual challenge of finding staff to manage the pool, and lifeguards (typically local teenagers) to keep it safe for swimmers and waders. Fortunately, the pool now has someone willing to manage it, if there is anything to manage.

Conditions beyond anyone’s control also determine whether the pool can operate: fires, dangerous air conditions, cranky weather, COVID. An outdoor pool is a wonderful place to be, until conditions shift and it isn’t.

One way or another, the Town of Twisp, Friends of the Pool and other supporters have patched together temporary solutions to get the pool through just one more year, so people of all ages from throughout the valley can enjoy it, and so the Killer Whales swim team can hone their competitive skills.

The same collaborative effort is at work now, but this may be the year it simply falls short despite good intent and creative thinking. Whatever repairs the pool needs — and they will be substantial, it appears — likely won’t come in time to save the whole season, if they can be arranged and paid for.

This was to be year the town limped through with one more huge band-aid before the operating fund the Wagners set up when the pool was built runs out of money. Operating in 2025 was not a foregone conclusion. Circumstances have brought us to a possible end point for the pool — not necessarily sooner than expected, but abrupt nonetheless. Not having the pool leaves a big void in the Methow summer.

We’ve written a lot of articles and editorials about the pool over the years, many of them celebratory, others worrisome. But it’s not a topic that ever lacks for interest, one way or another. Now the focus shifts more squarely and starkly than ever toward the future.

The community tension over defeat of a proposal to create an aquatics district to oversee the building and operation of a new pool has barely eased since the measure was soundly defeated last fall. While there was disagreement — some might call it a schism — about how to proceed, the commonality that we can value is agreement that a pool is necessary.

Which begs, again, a pretty big question: how do we manage that?

There’s only one organization we can look to that has persevered over the years where the Wagner Pool is concerned. Friends of the Pool has repeatedly stepped up to fill the gaps when money for repairs or operations was needed. The organization put a lot of well-intentioned effort into the aquatics district proposal, only to see it done in by doubts. The aquatics district opponents had lots of questions, and very few answers.

Is it reasonable to expect Friends of the Pool to keep up the crusade? Their leadership doesn’t lack determination, but they are going to need help — with ideas, with volunteer support, and ultimately with money. The Town of Twisp has neither the means nor the inclination to replace the pool.

Don’t give any credibility to people who claim a replacement pool can be accomplished quickly or cheaply. Under the best imaginable circumstances, we are a couple of years away from having a new pool of any kind — indoor or outdoor, in Twisp or elsewhere. The risk is that, in a prolonged absence, we might get used to not having one. But where community institutions are concerned, our memories are not usually that short.

The only way we are going to resolve the annual “will-it-or-won’t it” drama is to go through the drama of answering the question once and for all. We think this valley will answer in the affirmative.
pasayten
Ray Peterson
User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 2465
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: So what happened to the "Pool" issue?

Post by pasayten »

Outlook not encouraging for Wagner Pool’s opening
MAY 23, 2024 BY DON NELSON
The future of Twisp’s Wagner Memorial Pool — for this summer and beyond — looks increasingly bleak as the aging facility may have reached the point where it can no longer be patched up to operate even one more year.

Twisp Mayor Hans Smith and Public Works Director Andrew Denham did not sugar-coat the pool situation at last week’s Town Council meeting.

As usual, preparation of the pool for the upcoming season — scheduled to start June 15 — began a few weeks ago. What town crews found was alarming. Denham told the council earlier that the pool’s current condition is “by far the worst we’ve seen.” The pool continued to leak water prodigiously, and the lining was peeling off the sides of the pool.

Since then, the pool’s deterioration has become even more evident. Smith said at last week’s meeting that the damage is more significant than expected, and beyond the public works department’s ability to make necessary repairs — even if the money could be found.

Smith said the peeling liner is a safety issue, as its sharp edges can cause cuts to swimmers.

“We can’t leave it the way it is, and we don’t have the wherewithal to currently repair it,” the mayor said.

After discussions with the Public Works Department and Friends of the Pool, the nonprofit that has long supported the pool’s operation and maintenance with its fundraising efforts, Smith said an effort will be made to see “if we can get patching, if we can afford it, and where will the money come from.”

With the typical June opening looming linked with the critical need to hire lifeguards, the timeline for answering those questions is short. At best, Smith said, the opening would likely be delayed, if it can be achieved at all. The uncertainty makes it more difficult to hire people, Smith said.

What’s more, Smith said, it won’t be possible to see how well the other mechanical systems work until the pool is repaired and filled, so those systems can tested.

“It’s not looking good,” Smith said. “There’s a high risk we won’t be operating this year.”

If so, the outlook for 2025 may be more doubtful, and the town’s Wagner fund that supports pool operations will be all but exhausted.

“This is way beyond what we’ve seen in previous years,” Smith said. “We are just trying to operate this year … the infrastructure really threw us a curveball.”

Ongoing challenges

In recent years, opening and keeping the pool open has been problematic thanks to necessary annual repairs, mechanical problems, hiring challenges, COVID and unhealthy air conditions. A major staffing problem was solved last year when Thor Tyson agreed to be the pool’s manager. He is set to return this year, and the town has been advertising for lifeguards.

The pool’s chronic and current problems have heightened the community’s urgency about replacing the facility — although how that might be achieved raises even more questions.

Last fall, a ballot proposal to create a Methow Aquatics District that would operate a new, indoor pool and seek funding for its construction was soundly defeated by valley voters. The proposal had been developed by Friends of the Pool with the assistance of a consultant.

The projected cost of an indoor facility — north of $20 million — concerns about how the district would operate, and other questions about the aquatics district proposal sunk the effort. Friends of the Pool has regrouped to explore how else to proceed.

Suzanne Perin, chair of Friends of the Pool, told the council that her group will make an effort to find contractors who might be able to do the repairs in a timely and affordable manner. “We’ll give it all we’ve got and do whatever we can,” Perin told the council.

Choices to make

In a separate interview, Perin said “we’ve known every year we’d be facing the same questions” about the pool’s continued operation. She said the organization has contacted pool contactors including the one who installed new lining at a cost of $150,000 nine years ago. They are waiting for information about costs, availability and timelines, she said.

The question for the town and Friends of the Pool, Perin said, is “do you make an investment in a pool that’s only going to last a few more years?”

Friends of the Pool has raised about $400,000 over the years to supplement the town’s pool budget and help pay for repairs and operations.

The operating support provided by the Wagner fund and the town could possibly keep the pool open this summer, Perin said, but money for repairs would likely have to be raised by Friends of the Pool.

“It feels grim,” Perin said. “We knew this would come. Every year, we manage to squeak by … maybe this isn’t the year.”

Bo Thrasher, speaking for the Killer Whales swim team — which draws upwards of 100 youth each summer — said that when the pool was being re-lined nine years ago, some team members traveled to the pool in Omak three days a week. She said the team is exploring similar options if the Wagner Pool isn’t available. There are also public pools in Brewster and Okanogan.

“We will try to make something work if we can,” said Thrasher, who is also a Friends of the Pool board member. “We’re going to do the best we can.”

Looking down the road, Thrasher said that the latest pool crisis may instigate more action on replacing the Twisp pool. “There could be something positive that comes out of this,” she said.
pasayten
Ray Peterson
User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 2465
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: So what happened to the "Pool" issue?

Post by pasayten »

Met with Hans today at 3pm... Just the two of us. Not much talk of the past and mostly looking forward... Rec Districts are dead... Lots of discussion using the Public Facility District option with the 0.2% sales tax option which I talked about during the election.

Some of the Issues...
1. PFD requirement to involve $10 million of "regional facilities"...
My original idea was for Winthrop and Twisp to combine the Skate Rink and Pool for the $10 mil and both have PFD's... Seems like Winthrop is not interested at the moment... Hans may work on this.
2. Twisp currently lacking staffing for management of a pool...
3. Twisp Pool currently has a failing liner that may cost significant $ to fix... Could even prevent opening this year. Will know soon.
4. Need legal opinions/help with PFD RCW definitions and boundary implementations... State and county would not answer my PFD questions as I was only a private citizen. Hans can help with this.
5. If a 0.2% sales tax is passed, does it expire or will it be permanent. I will investigate RCW's for answer...

All in all, Hans would like a pool... would really like a year round one...
I can support that if it's funded by 0.2% sales tax PFD.
I would like a Methow Valley school district boundary PFD... That may require legal stuff.

FYI... a 0.2% sales tax add on would only cost a resident/visitor $20/year if they bought $10,000 worth of stuff in the PFD area that year... Twisp would generate approx $100K per year, Winthrop 150K. That is significant support $ for "regional" facilities.

Good meeting... I could work with Hans on a PFD solution... :-)
pasayten
Ray Peterson
User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 2465
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

Re: So what happened to the "Pool" issue?

Post by pasayten »

Winthrop...
On Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 2:09 PM, Sally Ranzau <mayor@townofwinthrop.com> wrote:

Ray,

The continued support for the pool is being led by a private organization. The Town of Winthrop has been quiet on the Pool issue, due to the defeat of Proposition 1 in November 2023. This defeat does not necessarily indicate residents do not want a pool, it said, they do not want their taxes increased for a pool.


The Winthrop Town Council has not had any requests, by Winthrop residents, to reopen a pool funding discussion.

Regards,

Mayor Ranzau

Mayor Sally Ranzau
Town of Winthrop
PO Box 459
Winthrop, WA 98862
509-996-2320
Twisp...
On Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 09:32:40 AM PDT, Hans Smith <townmayor@townoftwisp.com> wrote:


Greetings Ray -

I have been having some discussions with Friends of the Pool and the Town Council about possible solutions to ensuring a pool facility remains in Twisp. We do not have a clear path forward at the moment, and there are many other pressing priorities we are dealing with in tamdem with this complex issue, so progress is slower than we would all like at the moment...

I would be interested in meeting with you soon to talk about your knowledge and ideas regarding a PFD, and potential other options. Do you want to try to meet on May 22nd or 23rd at the Twisp Civic Building for a discussion on this?

Thank you for your continued interest in this issue and being willing to help figure out solutions to this difficult situation.

Sincerely,

Hans Smith

I will meet with Hans May 22rd. :-)
pasayten
Ray Peterson
dhop
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2023 6:47 pm
Contact:

Re: So what happened to the "Pool" issue?

Post by dhop »

I’m thinking some of us should go to the next council meetings and bring the topic of the pool up in person. You know we’re going to be the ones who are blamed if the pool isn’t up and running this year.
User avatar
pasayten
Posts: 2465
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:03 pm
Contact:

So what happened to the "Pool" issue?

Post by pasayten »

Followup letter 4/29...
Mayors of Twisp and Winthrop,

Well, it has been near 6 months since this email was sent regarding possible funding ideas for a community pool solution. I have seen no response of proactive steps to address the pool issue. Does this mean the issue is no longer relevant to the community and is not going to be addressed?

Ray Peterson
425-239-3777

On Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 12:02:00 PM PST, Ray Peterson <pasayten@yahoo.com> wrote:


Mayors of Twisp and Winthrop,

The election is over and Proposition 1 for the Metropolitan Park District is defeated. Our community is still left without support for a regional pool for the towns of Winthrop and Twisp. The community is also somewhat divided over the issue.

RCW 35.57 allows towns to create their own local Public Facilities Districts (PFD) and initiate a 0.2% sales tax addon to support projects. Pasco successfully recently did this to build a new pool facility.

A funding option for a Twisp pool project would be for having Winthrop and Twisp each create a separate Public Facilities District with a 0.2% sales tax addon. Then combine the funds thru an interlocal agreement to support a regional pool. I believe there is also a $10mil total facility value requirement. This could be accomplished by adding the library and skating rink into the PFD which would also help support of these important local regional facilities.

State and county legal will not accept private citizens requests to look into the legal aspects like this as it applies to the RCW. Could you look into this and initiate such a discussion as a possible solution?

Thank You in advance.

Ray Peterson
425-239-3777
pasayten
Ray Peterson
Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests