Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Concise rebuttal to misleading agenda against Columbia County Park District

Dear Editor,

I endorse Proposition #1. The creation of a Columbia County Joint Metropolitan Park District.

Columbia County Resolution 2022-23 and the City of Dayton Resolution 1498 signed by all county commissioners and city council members to put forth Proposition #1 for voter approval to create a Columbia County Joint Metropolitan Park District. The resolutions state, “Stable funding is essential to provide citizens of Columbia County and Dayton the best possible recreational opportunities and facilities, provide proper operation and maintenance of a local aquatic facility, and to allow for future opportunities to acquire and develop additional recreational facilities.” Also stating, “Recreational opportunities are an essential element to the public health, welfare, economy and quality of life for residents of Columbia County and Dayton.”

The scope and focus of the Metropolitan Park District is the construction, operation and maintenance of a community swimming pool. The creation of the Metropolitan Park District does provide an avenue for future recreational opportunities that the VOTING COMMUNITY deems as needed and wanted. But at this time it is strictly the construction, operations and maintenance of a community swimming pool.

The Columbia County Conservatives have sent out a flyer opposing the creation of the Metropolitan Park District containing misleading and false information. The return address on the flyer is that of current county commissioner Chuck Amerein. Question, who is Mr Amerein representing, the citizens of Columbia County or the Columbia County Conservative PAC? And for that matter the CCC members on the Dayton City Council. Who are you representing, the citizens of Dayton or the CCC PAC?

I wish to address their false, misleading, fear mongering assertions.

* Columbia County Conservatives (CCC) flyer statement: A Joint Metropolitan Park District (JMPD) is a political entity which has all the powers of a city. Once a JMPD is established, voters relinquish all power to the newly formed district

FACT: Upon voter approval to form a Joint Metropolitan Park District (JMPD) it becomes a Municipal corporation. RCW 35.51.040

The voters DO NOT relinquish any power. The citizens of this community retain all the power. Their voice and vote are the power. As with any elected position, the community will indicate their approval through their VOTE.

CCC flyer statement: A JMPD has sole decision making powers as to what recreational projects it chooses. This may include but not be limited to a pool, a park, or a TRAIL

CCC flyer statement: A JMPD is permanent. And it takes away the community’s ability to vote on parks and recreational facilities FOREVER.

FACT: The scope and focus of the JMPD is the construction, operation and maintenance of a community swimming pool. The JMPD board will function as any board or council, with public input, comment and direction. Should the community desire to add a recreational opportunity to the JMPD that will be determined by the community and their commitment to support the addition. The VOTER HAVE ALL THE POWER To add the statement of the TRAIL. There is NO trail. That statement was strictly to wave a red flag and create fear and unrest.

CCC flyer statement: Although initially established by voters, the JMPD cannot be dismantled by those same voters. Only the JPD Commissioners have the power to dissolve it.

FACT: RCW 35.61.310 Dissolution. The board of commissions with majority vote can dissolve the JMPD. BUT, SO CAN THE VOTERS! Ten percent of the voters of city or county who voted at the last general election can petition the governing officials for such a vote.

CCC flyer statement: The JMPD will impose and collect a property tax of up to $0.75 per $1000 assessed property value. This new tax applies to everyone and is paid in perpetuity (for all time).

FACT: The Metropolitan Park District allows two avenues of stable funding.

1) $5.90 Aggregate Limit Proration.

This is not a new tax. The $5.90 Aggregate, are the funds the county retains from our property taxes to be allocated to the county taxing districts on a proration basis. Our property taxes are based on the valuation of our property by the County Assessor’s Office. It has nothing to do with the creation of a Metropolitan Park District. Each tax district submits a yearly budget to the assessor’s office. This initial budget request level then becomes permanent. The taxing district may only request 1% more than the previous year request. Currently, the $5.90 Aggregate Limit is allocated to other taxing districts. The Metropolitan Park District is at level 5. Should the Metropolitan Park District ever make a budget request, there are no guarantee funds will be available.

2) Special Excess Levy

To access the Special Excess Levy the Metropolitan Park District would submit a proposition to finance maintenance and operation expenses of the community swimming pool YEARLY, FOR VOTER APPROVAL. Again, no taxes without voter approval

It is appalling that the Columbia County Conservatives foster misleading and false information in an attempt to destroy something good and positive for our community.

As I stated in public comment at last weeks County Commissioners meeting.

We are all in this sand box together. We can work together and prosper, or we can be in a house divided and fail.

Swimming pools do not pay for themselves with out stable funding as is evident by the closure of our city pool, but a swimming pool does create a happy, health, cohesive community,

I love this community and I want to be part of the solution to help make our community everything it can be. Let’s work together and prosper. I ask for your vote to approve the creation of the Columbia County Joint Metropolitan Park District. I also ask for your vote of candidates Dianne McKinley, Lisa Naylor, Ted Lowe, Dave Schreck, Marjorie Lowe, Carol Anderson.

Respectfully submitted,

Dianne McKinley

Co-Chair Friends of the Pool

Candidate JMPD Board of Commissioners Position #1


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