Consider the costs
Take a look at your real estate tax statement. Note the levy amounts on each of the services (divide by property value). There will be two new services to vote on: The Hospital District 1 (Three Rivers Hospital) bond issue and Twisp pool (formation of a Methow Aquatics District). Let’s compare the two as the net taxpayer cost will be about the same: more or less $500.
Renters, your landlord will pass these increased onto you in rent increases. It’s very important to note, the pool directors will be appointed thereby limiting accountability. This will be the only recreation district with appointed directors (why?), all other recreation districts have elected directors. They also will have unlimited authority to determine the levy amount, whereas all others local services require a public vote and directors are subject to open election.
The hospital directors have outlined specific costs of the new facility. All pool costs are conjecture. If the pool advocates want a pool, they should examine rebuilding an outdoor facility; as Tonasket has done for considerably less money.
AI threatens privacy
The best part of being in the forest is the solitude. The quiet beauty of the trees and streams and being in a place of silence. We are lucky to have an abundance those places nearby.
It seems the AI bandwagon has reached our county and the promise of progress has gained some traction.
Might work, “might not.” No problem.
All we have to lose is our privacy.
Multiple government agencies and (others?) can zoom in on us day and night.
We will not know who’s watching.
We will not know when.
We will not know why.
We do know about facial recognition (I do, anyway).
I hope our state and county officials give this some thought and choose wisely.
I find this very disturbing.
Better ideas needed
While I believe Friends of the Pool (FOP) has good intentions in their attempt to build a new pool in the valley, what they’ve presented to us has become a mangled mess that has caused nothing but confusion. t doesn’t help that recent public statements made by FOP are in conflict with their own feasibility study and ballot proposition.
Voting for a Metropolitan Park District (MPD) is a huge ask of taxpayers. An MPD is a permanent and unnecessary taxing authority that has enormous power. The vast majority of MPDs in Washington state have mitigated the inherent lack of accountability of MPDs by allowing voters to elect its board members. FOP chose not to give taxpayers that right. Taxpayers will be paying for the expenses of the pool(s) and should be treated as partners, not cash cows to be milked.
FOP seems unaware of the effect of increased regressive taxes on lower income families. FOP’s feasibility study shows that 20.3% of the households in the Methow School District have a median income of less than $25,000. In her book “Dividing Paradise,” sociologist Jennifer Sherman writes about “the clash between long-standing residents in the Methow struggling with economic precarity and well-heeled urban newcomers who are attracted to the community’s amenities but blind to their own class privilege.” An expensive taxpayer-funded amenity like the mega-pool complex and future taxpayer-funded recreation facilities planned by FOP may only increase this divide.
Without lifting the MPD’s levy lid, FOP’s dream of a mega-pool complex may only be a pipedream, as FOP’s feasibility study uses words like “unlikely” and “difficult” to describe many potential sources of capital for indoor recreation projects. In my opinion, a lot more thought and discussion was needed before FOP’s proposition was rushed to the ballot. Almost everyone wants a pool in the valley. The current pool will need to be operating for a couple of years no matter if the proposition passes or doesn’t. If the proposition fails, I hope a pool with a more taxpayer friendly recreation district and levy rate will be proposed.
About tax exemptions
Friends of the Pool is always hyping the property tax exemption program for fixed-income folks so as the Proposition 1 tax levy burden will be lessened on them. There are a few factors they do not openly disclose.
If you are a renter, you will most likely not realize any exemption as the full amount will most likely be passed on to you. This is basically a senior citizen exemption only — no exemption for low-income families.
To qualify, you must be at least 61 years of age; or be at least 57 years of age and the surviving spouse or domestic partner of a person who was an exemption participant at the time of their death; unable to work because of a disability; a disabled veteran with a service-connected evaluation of at least 80% or receiving compensation from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs at the 100% rate for a service-connected disability.
Level 1 income seniors will get no exemption as Proposition 1 would be a regular levy and not an excess levy. Level 2 and 3 will get only partial exemptions, 35% (maximum $70,000 and 60% of assessed value respectively).
There are three levels of property tax levies eligible for exemption depending on your final calculated combined disposable income: Level 1 $30,300; Level 2 $35,350; Level 3 $41,000; Deferral $45,450.
Level 3: You are exempt from paying excess levies and Part 2 of the state school levy. Generally speaking, excess levies are the voter-approved levies.
• Level 2: You are exempt from paying excess levies, Part 2 of the state school levy, and regular levies on $50,000 or 35% of the assessed taxable value, whichever is greater (but not more than $70,000 of the taxable value).
• Level 1: You are exempt from paying excess levies, Part 2 of the state school levy, and regular levies on $60,000 or 60% of the assessed taxable value, whichever is greater.
Read the rules of the program! Fixed/low-income seniors, individuals and families would still be significantly burdened by Proposition1!