The Metropolitan Park District being proposed by the White Salmon City Council would be based on the Klickitat County boundaries of the White Salmon Valley School District. The red outline demarks the entire School District. The hashed pink area in Skamania County is excluded.
As of Monday, April 9, 2018
During a lengthy meeting on March 21, the White Salmon City council settled on a plan of action for building a new community pool by summer 2019.
As mentioned in last week’s The Enterprise, during a special meeting on March 14, the city council was encouraged by the public to form a Metropolitan Park District (MPD) to take over ownership of the pool.
The council initially chose the option of having a petition drawn up by the people of White Salmon so that the MPD can be put on the August primary ballot. During the March 21, meeting the council decided to pursue both the petition and resolution approach to getting the MPD on the ballot in case one or the other fails. The filing date for the measure is May 11.
When investigating the formation of the MPD, the council was initially going to use the White Salmon Valley School District (WSVSD) as a boundary in which the MPD would operate. During the meeting, the council decided to hire a surveyor to re-draw the boundaries of the district so as not to include the piece of the WSVSD that is in Skamania County (Under-wood). The reasoning behind this decision was two-fold.
The council was concerned about including Skamania County, it would need approval from the Skamania County Review Board, which could take some time to obtain and could prevent the measure from getting on the August ballot. Also, the council was not confident it would get support from the Underwood Park District.
To summarize, the city will be working hard over the next few weeks to hire a surveyor to re-draw the boundary lines for the MPD to exclude Underwood. Following that, the council will vote on a resolution, hopefully with backing from Bingen and Klickitat County, to put the MPD on the August primary ballot. At the same time, the council will be working on messaging for the park district.
The Parks & Rec Committee will also begin reaching out to the community on the petition process in the next few weeks.
“We need to make the language and the messaging super clear, so voters understand exactly what’s happening with the pool and the actions we are taking. We also need to make it clear that this, for at least the first few years, will be just a single season pool, a summer pool,” said White Salmon Mayor Dave Poucher.
“We need to make it clear that we have committed to this path (forming an MPD). We know people are exhausted of hearing about a new pool and seeing no action beyond studies. This is the action we are taking,” added Councilor Marla Keethler.
A White Salmon resident, Sean Couvreux, mentioned to the council that the pool in Hood River is expected to undergo some renovations in the next few years as well.
“If people become worried that there’s not going to be a pool on either side of the river for a time, they’ll vote on whichever plan gets them a pool sooner. It would be great for White Salmon to have a multi-season pool someday, but a summer pool is the focus,” said Couvreux.
Here are key statutes covering the formation of a Metropolitan Park District.
RCW 35.61.010 Creation—Territory included.
A metropolitan park district may be created for the management, control, improvement, maintenance, and acquisition of parks, parkways, boulevards, and recreational facilities. A metropolitan park district may include territory located in portions or all of one or more cities or counties, or one or more cities and counties when created or enlarged as provided in this chapter.
Election—Resolution or petition—Area—Limitations.
(1) When proposed by citizen petition or by local government resolution as provided in this section, a ballot proposition authorizing the creation of a metropolitan park district must be submitted by resolution to the voters of the area proposed to be included in the district at any general election, or at any special election which may be called for that purpose.
(2) The ballot proposition must be submitted if the governing body of each city in which all or a portion of the proposed district is located, and the legislative authority of each county in which all or a portion of the proposed district is located within the unincorporated portion of the county, each adopts a resolution submitting the proposition to create a metropolitan park district.
(3) As an alternative to the method provided under subsection (2) of this section, the ballot proposition must be submitted if a petition proposing creation of a metropolitan park district is submitted to the county auditor of each county in which all or a portion of the proposed district is located that is signed by at least fifteen percent of the registered voters residing in the area to be included within the proposed district.