The MPR Board got its first look last week at a draft Capital Improvement Plan, a $578,500 multi-year/multi-decade list of potential capital projects that would enable current and future boards to look for funding sources for additional recreation programs, maintenance and improvements for the town pool, and possibly a community center and town park.
“It’s just a wish list, but you have to start somewhere,” said David Swartz, of CEC Engineering, at the Aug. 27 meeting. “That is what we did. We started somewhere.”
The MPR board hired Swartz to project what residents might want or need in the future, and have the Capital Improvement Plan included in a professional engineer’s report, a requirement of the Proposition 218 process that gives property owners the right to vote on tax increases.
The Capital Improvement Plan includes mostly pool improvements, both necessary and optional, and outfitting a community center to serve youth, adults and senior citizens.
MPR President Kyle Miller said the board’s ad hoc committee decided to have an informal meeting on Saturday so residents can express their own ideas and concerns for the Capital Improvement Plan, rather than sending information through an intermediary.
Miller, who was named to the ad hoc committee with Director Randy Wilkins earlier this year, made the decision following a raucous breakdown in communication during last week’s public meeting when a Maxwell resident misunderstood the process and demanded her questions on the Capital Improvement Plan be answered during the period of public comment, rather than wait to when the board reached the item on the agenda for discussion, a Brown Act violation had the board proceeded with her demands.
Bridgett Azevedo, during public comment, said she and other landowners were concerned that their farmland would be taxed for all the capital improvements listed on the plan, which includes $117,000 for items like a slide, fence, ADA compliant restrooms, new diving board, upgraded filtration system, refurbishments, solar panels, grass, and tables for the pool; $350,000 for a fully functioning community center that includes air hockey, pool tables, ADA restrooms, kitchen preparation station, inside and outside improvements; a $50,000 estimate to outfit a neighborhood park similar to Williams’ Veteran Memorial Park on E. St., using a similar-sized unsecured vacant lot in Maxwell as a visual; and a $50,000 estimate to outfit a currently non-existing fitness facility (weight room) on unsecured railroad property.
Swartz and MPR directors said at a public workshop on Aug. 13, which Azevedo attended, that a Capital Improvement Plan was just a roadmap for the future, which could take decades to complete, and that its total would not reflect the amount the district might propose if they move forward with a tax measure to increase the 1986 property tax assessment that generates just $13,000 a year in revenue.
“Nothing is etched in stone,” said Director Andre Young, at the Aug. 27 meeting.
Young said the district is “three light years” ahead of where it was just a few months ago, as they move forward with the requirements that might allow the district to secure funding from a variety of sources, not just to increase assessment fees.
“Maxwell Park and Recreations is growing; it’s tremendously growing,” Young said. “It hasn’t been easy, it has been very slow.”
Young said the Capital Improvement Plan was just one step in a long process.
“We are taking our time to dot our I’s and cross our T’s,” Young said. “It’s not going to happen overnight. We are doing what we are supposed to do. We are going to do this one step at a time.”
The Maxwell Park and Recreation Town Hall meeting will be held at 5 PM on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the American Legion Hall. The ad hoc committee (Miller and Wilkins) will be in attendance to receive input on the Capital Improvement Plan, and answer what questions they can, so that the board can move to the next step, which is asking Swartz to complete his engineer’s report, Miller said.
The Maxwell Auxiliary Committee will host the gathering, and will provide refreshments. The public is encouraged to attend. Those who cannot attend can mail questions, ideas or concerns to the district at P.O. Box 688, Maxwell, CA 95955 or send via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or have letters delivered to the meeting.
Miller said anonymous requests, concerns, or complaints would not be accepted through intermediaries.
“It would just be hearsay,” he said.
The full MPR board anticipates at least one formal Town Hall meeting, and at least two more public meetings before a final decision is made either to move forward with a proposal to increase the assessment.