I cannot accept these vague representations from “Transparency” group candidates for Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District Board of Directors positions. They’ve no vision but a desire to take over control of the district to wreak havoc on a sustainable budget our programming including scholarship grants to financially impacted families; who incidentally many times agree to volunteer for program support.

Patrick Duhachek speaks of “niche” programs? Is he talking of lap swim, open swim, Zumba, water aerobics or yoga? Swim lessons or lifeguard Training? Surf camps, emergency child care, preschool? While we provide many essential programs, we also have special events providing social and community benefits such as our Seaside Farmers Market or Daughter and Daddy Dance.

Several employers negotiate reduced fees on behalf of employee groups who can avail themselves of district fitness and wellness programs, including the city of Seaside.

Why quibble over our permanent tax rate of .000928/$1000? I sense his ultimate desire is to defund our budget. Some in his eclectic group wish to default on our flex lease loan utilized to purchase the former Broadway Middle School; the very same mechanisms funded the much-needed women’s locker room expansion and the warm water therapy/learner’s pool in addition to purchasing the Abel House property subsequently transferred to city ownership to site our new library and siting for our Sunny Hunt Community Gardens. We’ve not asked for any new taxes.

Patrick has stated that our park and recreation district is the fifth highest funded in Oregon. Pat has wrongly compared us to others (2) that have no indoor pools. Some better funded districts also utilize system development charges. We don’t. Some are only aquatic districts with seasonal outdoor pools. We are more than a pool. Our funding is one of the reasons we have a sustainable budget for childcare, preschool, summer camps, after school programs, and a beautiful indoor community pool. Sustainability is the reason we have been able to open and reopen Sunset Pool six times since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. No one else in Clatsop County can boast that.

We have the power of a special district. Formed in 1969 by a few hundred people with a tax base that proved unsustainable and when inflation became a barrier to building new pool; the early days were rough until Mary Blake came in 1984. Her knowledge of aquatics proved to be the difference in guiding the board and community toward sustainability. Sizemorian 1990 politics reshaped the district tax base with resulting the aforementioned present permanent tax rate.

I was the first director to receive governance and finance trainings with special districts Association of Oregon. I don’t see any experience with special districts by any opponent or vision of empowering our community invest in social capital, positive youth development and optimal use of the Sunset Pool.

Please reelect The SEPRD board. This is the best option for Seaside. Vote for honesty and integrity. Support these young directors from Seaside.

Michael Hinton

Seaside

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