Pool District Board Grappling with A Lack of Start-Up Money

White Salmon Valley Pool Metropolitan Park District commissioners Ben Briggs (left), Lloyd DeKay, Karen Skiles, Catherine Loke, and Troy Witherrite took the oath of office during their first official meeting as a start-up special taxing district. The commissioners’ next meeting is slated for Thursday, Jan. 10, at the White Salmon Fire Hall (in City Council Chambers). Start time is 7 p.m.

New park district, same old problem.

The board of commissioners of the newly formed White Salmon Valley Pool Metropolitan Park District is trying to figure out how to get some money to operate until property tax levy revenue start to fill the County Treasury in early April.

The Pool District’s levy of 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation is expected to generate about $239,000 in revenue to pay for a variety of current expenses. First-half property taxes will be due by April 30. The deadline for second-half taxes is Oct. 31.

“We’re still in flux,” newly elected Board President Lloyd DeKay said last Thursday about efforts to obtain interim financing.

DeKay’s comment came during the Pool Board’s first official meeting at which the district’s five elected commissioners swore the oath of office and elected DeKay as their president and Karen Skiles as clerk of the board for 2019.

The other commissioners are Benjamin Briggs, Catherine Loke, and Troy Wither-rite. It was the second time the five commissioners had met since the November General Election.

A strategy the board seemed to settle on was to develop and adopt a 2019 budget for the district and write a letter to the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners asking it to provide interim financing, in consultation with County Treasurer Greg Gallagher. Pool Commissioners plan to re-view and act on the budget and letter during a Jan. 10 meeting in Council Chambers at the White Salmon Fire Hall, starting at 7 p.m.

According to DeKay, the Treasurer’s Off-ice is declining to offer the Pool District a bridge loan or line of credit, which it may do pursuant to RCW 35.61.040 until sufficient levy funds are available to pay off the debt.

Commissioners discussed the possibility of a commercial bank loan, through a Revenue Anticipation Note, though consensus suggested a bank loan is not a viable option because a bank will require the district to have a guarantor to secure the indebtedness.

Money matters aside, among its first official acts, the Pool Board spent money it does not currently have in hand. It hired legal counsel and entered into an interlocal agreement with the City of White Salmon for administrative support services.

The commissioners entered into a year-long contract with Ruben Cleaveland of the Hood River firm Annala, Carey, Van-Koten & Cleaveland.

Cleaveland told commissioners he specializes in Local Government and Municipal Law and has worked with the Hood River Park and Recreation District and other public entities in the Columbia Gorge. During the initial 1-year term of the contract, the Pool Board agreed to compensate Cleaveland at the rate of $200 per hour. The maximum value of the contract is not to exceed $20,000, per RCW 35.61.135’s competitive bidding exemption. The motion to approve the contract passed unanimously.

Approval of the contract came with the stipulated recognition by both parties that Cleaveland had “performed work” for the district in December 2018 “for matters pertaining to the organization of the district” and may submit an invoice for said preliminary work per compensation terms.

Commissioners also voted to retain the administrative support services of White Salmon City Clerk/Treasurer Jan Brending through March 31 (or sooner), at the rate of $66 per hour. The City Council had already authorized the offer of services to support the fledgling district.

Brending took minutes at last Thursday's meeting and offered professional input on a variety of subjects, from what to look for in errors and omissions insurance coverage to designing a website as a tool for providing information and giving feedback.

The board authorized DeKay and Skiles to work with Brending to establish work priorities for her during the Pool District’s start-up phase.

In other business, commissioners:

Heard a report from DeKay about his contact with a representative of Portland-based PlanB Consultancy. He noted this representative had reviewed a pool construction proposal submitted to the City of White Salmon last year and figured out how to reduce the cost from $1.5-$1.9 million to $1.25 million.

nSet over until Jan. 10 a decision on which errors and omissions insurance coverage to purchase. The board discussed an email quote from Association of Washing-ton Cities and a premium indication from Cities Insurance Association of Washing-ton.

nSet over until Jan. 10 the adoption of district bylaws.

nSet over until Jan. 10 adoption of their 2019 meeting schedule and location. Their proposed schedule is the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Concerns about after-hours access and poor acoustics at Skyline prompted reconsideration of the location.

Heard from two citizens who encouraged the board to embrace the concept of constructing of a year-round, covered aquatic facility.

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