IceRink-PostA parks and rec department would support the Winthrop Ice and Sports Rink, among other things. File photo by Sue Misao

 

BY DON NELSON

The Twisp Town Council is interested in being part of a proposed Methow Valley parks and recreation district, but council members decided last week that they want a little time to think about it.

At its June 12 meeting, the council heard a presentation by Fred Wert and Jay Lucas, Winthrop residents who have been working during the past year to lay the groundwork for creation of a parks and recreation district that would have the same boundaries as the Methow Valley School District.

The valley’s incorporated towns don’t have to approve formation of such a district, but they do have to decide whether to be part of one if it is formed. Wert and Lucas were asking the town to be part of a parks and recreation district, if its formation is approved by voters within the described boundaries.

After some discussion and questions about how the district and its governing board would operate, the council agreed to consider action at its June 26 meeting.

The new taxing district would support parks and recreation facilities and related programs in the valley, such as the Wagner Memorial Pool in Twisp and the Winthrop Ice and Sports Rink.

Lucas and Wert are distributing petitions calling for creation of the district. Under state law, the petition needs to be signed by at least 15 percent of the registered voters in the proposed district boundaries (in this case about 600 people), and sent to the Okanogan County Commission. After a public hearing, the district would be created and an election would subsequently be held for five district commissioners who would oversee the district and set the tax levy.

Wert and Lucas are hoping to get the proposal on the November general election, at which time the commissioners would also be elected. The commissioners would spend about a year developing policies and procedures before any new tax would be levied.

 

In other business:

• The council discussed rules for having dogs in the city park, and decided that dogs could be in any part of the park as long as they are on a leash. Also discussed was the possibility of creating an off-leash area for dogs behind the pool.

• The council supported creation of a drop-box at the police department for disposal of prescription medicines. Funding of about $1,700 will come from the Okanogan County Community Coalition. Police Chief Paul Budrow said the secure box would be emptied a couple of times a year.

• Mayor Soo Ing-Moody said the town and Okanogan County Fire District 6 have begun preliminary discussions of a proposal to annex Twisp to the fire district.

• Council member Clay Hill reported that a proposal to increase the county sales tax by four-tenths of 1 percent to support expanded service by the Okanogan County Transit Authority is making good progress toward appearing on the November ballot. The expanded service would include about 30 round trips a week between the valley and Okanogan/Omak, Hill said.