The biggest issue for the Fidalgo Pool and Fitness Center in the Nov. 2 election is passing the maintenance and operations levy to continue funding operations.
The question of who will be sitting on the pool’s Board of Commissioners has become less of an issue. Only one race was contested — against incumbent pool commission member Christine Mathes. The challenger, James Mitchell, told the Anacortes American on Tuesday that he is withdrawing.
Meanwhile, the six-year replacement maintenance and operation levy, is a critical piece of keeping the center open.
The levy, which helps keep operations going and for upkeep on the facility, is staying at the same rate taxpayers are currently paying, pool Executive Director Rob Peterson said.
“There is no increase in cost,” he said.
That rate is about $11.38 per $100,000 of assessed property value.
That brings in about $760,000 for the pool for next year, Peterson said. This levy has nothing to do with a new pool building nor does it pay for programs, which are covered by user fees.
“This is just to maintain operations,” he said.
Mathes, who is running for her second term on the board, said one of the biggest challenges facing the pool right now is finances.
She said she has heard some questions about the confusion between the maintenance levy and a possible bond for a replacement facility, but she wants voters to know they are not the same. The levy request this year only covers maintenance and operations of the existing facility. Because taxpayer dollars are involved, voters decide to approve the operations levy that keeps the pool going. If passed, this levy will continue at the requested rate for six more years.
Meanwhile, because of COVID-19, the pool is operating at a deficit each month, Mathes said. Figuring out how to make that work will be key for the board in the future, she said.