Parks district putting budget to bed


The Point Roberts Parks and Recreation District has voted to take an unexpected $1,000 in banked capacity in addition to the 1 percent increase allowed by law, with an eye to hiring help with district maintenance and administration.

“We’ve always wanted someone to take on some of the work we have to do,” said commissioner Mary Edgley at the district’s November 16 meeting. “If we have a way to do it, let’s do it.”

Elected parks commissioners are not compensated, and while the district pays for cleaning and a secretary, most of the operational, maintenance and administrative duties fall on commissioners.

Commissioner Bennett Blaustein is currently putting in up to 30 hours a week unlocking doors, adjusting thermostats, ordering toilet paper, managing community center bookings, mapping trails for grant applications, winterizing toilets and more.  “I’m willing to put up with all that I’m doing for another year but then…” he said.

The 2016 levy for the district was $49,500, and the county assessor reported the district could increase the levy by $1,459 for 2017, this year’s 1 percent increase plus two years of banked levy capacity they did not take in previous years. Some commissioners were concerned voters would be soured if they took it all and not support a new operational levy, which the district will need to have approved in November 2017. “I don’t think they’ll see us as nickel and diming them over $1,400,” said commission chair Linda Hughes.

The district is estimating it will carry over $75,000 from the 2016 budget in 2017, which with the $50,959 projected levy and miscellaneous income will give them a total budget for the year of $144,959. Approximately half of those funds will go into the repair and maintenance account, which pays for the upkeep and improvements to the community center and Baker Field. The district does not maintain a capital reserve.

Commissioners plan to discuss what improvements they can make next year at upcoming meetings. The district is also looking at expanding summer programming and commissioners want to ensure the kayak program is revived by summer 2017.

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