White Salmon — Following a Nov. 5 public hearing, the White Salmon Valley Pool Metropolitan Park District approved their 2021 budget at their Nov. 12 regular meeting. The approved budget projects expenditures related to construction and permitting in 2021 and anticipates over $1 million in revenue, including $302,357 in taxes levied, $350,000 in state grant funds, and another $435,000 in non-governmental grants and donations in the coming fiscal year.

Also approved by the pool board is a resolution authorizing a one-percent increase on the levy amount, which amounts to an increase of $2,944.39 on ad valorem property taxes levied.

“It’s not, as I had assumed, 1 percent on the levy rate (our levy rate … is 25 cents per 1,000 dollar valuation), but … it is on what we’re to receive on the budget from last year, so in fact our levy rate next year will be 23.8 cents per $1,000 because the property values have increased faster than that 1 percent increase,” Board President Lloyd Dekay said.

“As long as property values continue to increase, we will progressively see our levy rate decrease,” DeKay said. “We will actually be getting more money, but it won’t be as much as we would have gotten if it were based on the levy rate rather than the actual levy.”

As of Oct. 31, the district has $335,715.94 in total assets, according to their 2020 balance sheet, including $55,397.20 in reserves.

DeKay also reported that the board has narrowed down their options to two among 13 applicants bidding on a Request for Qualifications for architectural and engineering services to design the future pool.

The board is also maneuvering to hire a general contractor/construction manager, which requires review of the project by the State of Washington Capital Projects Advisory Review Board project review committee. The board is meeting with the committee for approval on Dec. 3.

“We feel … very strongly we will be able to get that approval,” said DeKay. Upon approval, DeKay said, the board intends to issue a Request for Proposal to procure a GC/CM.

The board then deliberated on a resolution to determine the board’s limits to authorize expense approvals. The resolution would have authorized the board president to approve expenses up to $25,000, two officers to approve expenses between $25,000 and $50,000, and limit expense approvals over $50,000 to majority board approval.

“The purpose of this signature authority is if there are things that come up that need rapid approval, that is not necessarily that has come before the board as a budget item, but something that needs to be taken a look at very quickly … or else the opportunity is lost,” said DeKay.

Members of the board, including commissioners Benjamin Briggs and Lily von Mosch, recommended that they table the discussion for next meeting, which would give them time to deliberate over the consequences of the proposed action item. Commissioner Troy Witherrite expressed concern that the action would give one person too much power.

“I guess I would just like to see lower numbers,” said Witherrite. “The numbers just seem a little high to me for our budget and our goals in terms of having one person make decisions. But yeah, if there’s transparency that does help.”

Kathy Harris, who has been working with the board in a contractual capacity as grant writer, upon questioning from her fellow commissioners due to her background in non-profit operations, said it is normal procedure to delegate fiscal responsibility that way.

“As long as there is an approved budget that supports those approved expenses and aligns with what the board has already approved,” said Harris. “Obviously, if somebody wants to buy a truck for $40,000 and (get) two people to sign it’s okay, then there’s a problem because there’s not a truck … on the budget.”

Upon further discussion, the board rescinded a motion to approve the action item and tabled the discussion. DeKay, who presented the action item, said the projected timeline stands, in regards to planned expenses, such as an upcoming bid award for the RFQ. “That’s probably going to be well in excess of $50,000, so we’ll probably need to hold a special meeting to approve that and, if we can get this kind of a policy together, we can include that within a special meeting,” said DeKay.

Reporting on the status of the two grant applications submitted through the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office, Harris told the board that one application, through the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, received a ranking of 52 out of 80, and the other application submitted through the Youth Athletic Facilities program received a ranking of 10 out of 37. The board approved the rankings as is, Harris said, which will then be reviewed and approved by the state legislature, a process which should be finalized in June.

“We are looking at June for any type of formality, or any formal understanding, of what will actually be funded with these two grants,” Harris said.

The board mulled suggestions during this report to seek out corporate grants and to write letters closer to the 2021 legislative session to Dist. Rep. Gina Mosbrucker and Dist. Sen. Curtis King to highlight the grant applications submitted by the pool district. They also discussed the possibility of applying for construction loans, “just to see what’s possible,” DeKay said.

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