Parks board working on comprehensive plan

By Pat Grubb

Looking to the future, the Point Roberts Park and Recreation District board of commissioners has created a sub-committee to begin work on a comprehensive plan. Commissioners Mary Edgley and Linda Hughes will start working on a mission statement outlining short and long term goals of the district.

“I think the comprehensive plan has to be at least as long as the levy term and it has to feed into the next levy request which is not until 2017,” said board chair Mark Robbins, adding, “We have the advantage of having five commissioners so it’s perfectly legal to have a sub-committee of two commissioners start work” on the plan.

Speaking from the audience, local resident Ron Hughes told the board “You really need to reach out to the community to ask what everyone thinks the parks should be doing. And then there’ll be lots of stuff that’s unrealistic, lots of minor stuff but then you can chop it down and a budget will come out of it and you can use it for marketing the levy.”

Speaking earlier in the regular meeting held August 10, Edgley sought to clarify the board’s position regarding its commitment to the proposed new library to be built next door in the old Julius
fire station.

“I’d like to go back to the minutes,” she said. “I don’t think anyone ever said that we are not interested in supporting the library as we agreed to in the memorandum of understanding,” between the parks district and the county library system. “The only issue is, how to we do that and should or should not that money come out of our operating budget,” she said, addressing the district’s commitment to making up any shortfall between the cost of the building and the money that has been raised so far.

Edgley told fellow commissioners that she had reviewed minutes to see what had been said by the board and cited a July 2014 meeting where the board had agreed that “if it was a small amount, it would be up to the parks but if it was more significant we might want to see public comment and if it’s a huge gap it would require an excess levy and then it would be up to a super majority [60 percent] of the voters to decide.”

“That determination will have to be made when we’re faced with what amount is needed and what we have in our balance on hand,” Robbins pointed out. “I don’t think it was necessary at that time to define what that amount was,” he added. The board apparently agreed with Robbins as the discussion was concluded without settling on an amount or deciding on a request by Edgley that the board consider taping its meetings.

In a meeting with the All Point Bulletin on August 12, Edgley expressed concern that the newspaper had misrepresented the board’s support of the library as being lukewarm in a story published in the August issue. She said the issue was not the board’s level of support but how much financial support would be necessary and where the funds would come from.

In other district news, Hughes gave the board an update on this year’s summer program for kids. “I think it wrapped up very well,” she said, adding that parents generally thought it was a great program this year.

The board also adopted an Open Public Records request policy based on “ideal policy guidelines” created by the Municipal Research and Services Center, a non-profit organization that aims to support the success of local governments in Washington state through research and knowledge base.

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