Maxwell Park and Recreation inching toward assessment change

The Maxwell Park and Recreation District (MPRD) board met with their consultant at a special workshop last week to begin work on a capital improvement plan.

The plan will be used as a guide for the board to secure funding sources for recreational programs, maintenance and improvements for the town pool, a community center, and possibly a town park.

A capital improvement plan is basically a “wish list” of all wants and needs that could take decades to achieve, said David Swartz, of CEC Engineering, but it is the first step in completing an engineer’s report, a mandate of the Proposition 218 process, which gives property owners a say on tax increases.

“The purpose of the engineer’s report is to formalize the request for Prop 218 in order to attempt to raise (the) assessment fees – which have not been raised in a long time – so (MPRD) can properly maintain and operate, and hopefully improve the district for the town’s residents,” Swartz said.

On Nov. 5, 1985, Maxwell voters approved an annual levy of $15 a year ($1.25 a month) on each parcel with a dwelling, regardless of acreage, or 7 cent per acre on land without a dwelling ($5.83 a month per 100 acres), to fund recreational programs, commencing in 1986.

District officials said revenues from the assessment are insufficient to maintain operations of the pool, increase recreational opportunities for youth, or initiate new programs for adults and senior citizens.

Board members said at the Aug. 13 workshop at the American Legion Hall that the greatest need for the increase would be to keep the pool open. While donations from the community allowed the pool to operate this summer, donations would not cover future capital improvements, such as resurfacing the pool, or replacing pumps and structures when needed, officials said. The board also has tentative plans to purchase the old Stage Lines building on Oak Street, and a restructured assessment would likely be needed in order to secure a USDA loan or state grant to turn the building into a fully functioning community center, Swartz said.

Also on the list is a water slide for the big pool, although deemed not an immediate need, and the completion of an income survey, which would likely show Maxwell as economically disadvantaged when applying for state bond funding, such as Proposition 68, which voters approved in June to help spruce up run-down or create new neighborhood parks.

“The town pool and the community center are number one and two on the list,” said Vice President Randy Wilkins.

MPRD President Kyle Miller said that while some improvements need to be made to the large pool, the baby pool should be resurfaced, and possibly a new roof put on the pool’s clubhouse.

The MPRD board has not yet decided when Prop 218 notices will go out, nor have they set a date for a protest hearing, but those steps have to be completed before property owners would see an increase.

Once the capital improvement plan is completed, Swartz said it would be important for MPRD board members and volunteers to reach out to the community to get a better understanding about what residents want now and in the future, in the way of activities and programs.

Without the increase, board members said the pool would likely close permanently, as the cost of chemicals, repairs, and personnel continues to increase.

The MPRD board will next meet at 5:30 PM on Aug. 27, at the Maxwell Fire Department.