In 1968, voters approved the formation of Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District. After several failed votes, a five-year levy of $60,000 per year to build the pool passed in 1971. The pool opened September 1977. The voters made the decisions.
Now the district wants to spend $2.5 million to buy Broadway Middle School and untold millions remediating for safe use.
Everyone knows the middle school is in terrible/unsafe condition because the Seaside School District told us so.
SEPRD claims not to have any plans developed for its use. Are they going to leave it empty until they make a plan?
They claim not to know an estimated cost of rehabilitation. They have told us they have the money to pay monthly payments for almost three years. And then what? Pay for three years while it sits unusable and then push a levy?
And that’s the big deal.
SEPRD refuses to discuss with or in front of the public. The district is not working within the requirements of Oregon laws which require governmental bodies to keep the public informed.
The Oregon Attorney General Records and Public Meetings manual states: “The Oregon form of government requires an informed public aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which such decisions were made. It is the intent that decisions of governing bodies be arrived at openly.”
SEPRD is misusing the executive session privilege. A governing body may go into executive session to deliberate with persons designated by the governing body to negotiate real property transactions ... must be limited to discussions of negotiations regarding specific real property and may not include discussion of a public body’s long-term space needs or general policies concerning lease sites.
The board has been violating public meeting law by discussing items not covered by the topic specified for the executive session and/or outright discussing the public’s business behind closed doors.
The plan titled Broadway Middle School Master Plan, dated November 2019, was discussed by the SEPRD board in violation of public meeting law. The public was never allowed to see it.
Any discussion of plans, proposed programs, strategic planning and the like that is not done in front of the public is in violation of public meeting law.
Any plans that are not shared with the public constitute a violation of public meeting law.
Any discussions occurring in an executive session that do not adhere to the specific purpose stated for the executive session renders the total executive session without privilege.
Those of us who have taken up this cause to question the Broadway Middle School purchase and hold the board members accountable to or state law are not in opposition to SEPRD. We are not anti-children. We don’t even oppose appropriate and properly financed growth. Properly financed means that the taxpayers have a say, as they did regarding the failed proposal for district to purchase the Seaside golf course and the failed 2018 $20 million bond.
We are opposed to secrecy. We are opposed to board members not adhering to their fiduciary duty to the taxpayers or not following public meeting law.
We don’t want to burden ourselves or future generations (the children you say need this today) with taxes forced on us in the future.
The proper way is to share potential plans regarding the planned remediation, rehabilitation, use and purchase of Broadway Middle School and put to a vote for the future of our district and the level of our taxes.
Let’s all work together. Let’s do things right. Why the secrecy?
Transparency for SEPRD Taxpayers is concerned that the SEPRD board is looking to indebt taxpayers without due diligence. We believe district taxpayers have a right to vote whether to approve and accept the cost of Broadway Middle School.
Visit our Facebook page for more information at https://www.facebook.com/Transparency-for-SEPRD-Taxpayers-103740591560253/.
Tita Montero is a Seaside resident and Seaside City Councilor. She is writing as a private citizen.