Encouraged by the public to bring Maxwell Parks and Recreation District into the 21st century, the board voted last week to ask property owners to add almost $50 a year to what they are already paying to provide youth and adult recreation programs, keep the town pool open, operate a functioning community center, and be able to set aside money to complete a number of capital improvement goals, such as completing an income survey and hiring a grant writer to seek funding for a park.
The board voted Nov. 5 to ask the property owner to pay $64.50 a year, or $5.38 cents a month, which they said is comparable to a cup of coffee or two from Starbucks a month.
“I spend more than that on coffee every day,” said Treasurer Randy Wilkins.
The MPR board said it expects to have a public Town Hall meeting after the holidays, probably in January, to discuss with property owners the proposed rate and the Proposition 218 process, which gives only property owners a say on whether the new rates would be acceptable.
MPR President Kyle Miller and Wilkins are both Maxwell property owners, and they said they have heard from other property owners that they would be willing to increase the tax assessment up to $100 a year to allow the district to keep the pool open, keep the building they purchased for a community center, and possibly build a park in the future.
The MPR board said that despite community support and fundraisers to help pay for pool expenses last year (labor and chemicals), Maxwell Parks and Recreation has operated at a deficit the past three years.
“We have used up almost all of our reserves,” Wilkins said. “There is basically nothing left.”
Miller said without increasing revenue, the MPR board would not be able to resurface the baby pool or make other necessary repairs to bring the pool up to code, nor provide recreation programs that serve youth, adults, and senior citizens.
“The current rate was set in 1985,” Miller said. “It has never been increased.”
Becky Azevedo, who attended the meeting, said the proposed increase was not unreasonable, and that property owners would likely support it.
“There used to be places where kids could just go and hang out,” she said. “That is what we need here. We need more community stuff.”
The Proposition 218 proposal of $64.50 (billed twice a year at $32.25) would amount to a rate of inflation of about 10 percent a year, retroactive to 1985, officials said. That amount will be proposed for all property owners who have a house/residence located on the parcel.
Property owners with less than 43 acres without a house/residence will be asked to pay $12.90 per year. Farmland of 43 acres or greater without a residence will be asked to bay 30 cents per acre, or $30 per hundred acres, which is about three-fourths the assessment for recreation districts in rural communities, including Arbuckle.
If property owners approve the increase, revenue for the district will increase from $14,636 annually to $59,044. ■