Posted 3/20/24

Vote Yes in April

Quilcene voters are facing a school levy April 23. As a former school board member, many community members have reached out to me asking for clarification prior to receiving …

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Vote Yes in April

Quilcene voters are facing a school levy April 23. As a former school board member, many community members have reached out to me asking for clarification prior to receiving the next round of ballots.This replacement Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) Levy generates revenue to fund programs and services the state does not pay for as part of basic education.
The funds from this replacement levy support athletics, preschool, special education, clubs and club advisors, the school garden program, technology, transportation, art, music, supplemental instructional materials, vocational education, custodial and maintenance staff and supplies, and food service. Without this levy the school will not be able to provide these vital programs to the youth of our community or employ the staff members necessary to run them.
EP&O Levies are limited to one-, two-, three- or four-year terms. Since the school district must pay election costs, longer terms are cheaper. The disadvantage to longer terms is the unpredictability of economic conditions.
The current four-year EP&O Levy is due to expire at the end of 2024. This levy was originally passed at a rate of $1.50 per $1,000.00 of assessed property value in 2020. That rate per thousand has gone down as property values rise because school levies are set at a fixed amount. The District is asking for a rate of $1.35 per $1,000.00 assessed property valuation for 2025-2028. There are no interest rates involved with levies, since they are collected when people pay their taxes and passed directly to the school district. The replacement rate will be a 31-cent increase from the current rate.
Quilcene School District has focused great effort toward fiscal responsibility, passing audits conducted by the State Auditor’s Office without findings every two years. Additionally requesting WASA organize a Management & Operational Review in the Spring of 2023, indicating fiscal responsibility of our staff and programs. A great deal of planning goes into the setting of Levy rates. I encourage anyone who has questions to please reach out to the district for accurate information. Our students deserve a well-rounded quality education. Please consider voting yes in April.

Trisha Freiberg

Keep it charming

Seattle was a small city when I grew up in the 1940s. There were no drive-by shootings. Children felt safe in school. There was no stop-and-go traffic, and parking on the street was available downtown. Greater Seattle, an organization to promote Seattle’s growth, was founded in 1950.
Look at Seattle now!  Downtown streets are jammed, and now people don’t feel safe on the streets.
My career brought me to Murrysville, Pennsylvania, in 1970, population about the same as Port Townsend is now. It was a residential community, sleepy, nice schools, and limited crime. In 1980, I wrote a letter to the editor of Murrysville’s local newspaper similar to this one. My wife and I visited Murrysville last October. My, how the town has changed: urban sprawl infests the roads; the homes were turned into businesses. The only thing that was not sullied is the 220-acre, heavily wooded park.
I plead with the city council to not promote Port Townsend. Do not encourage growth. Keep it charming.

Walter Vaux
Port Townsend

Wrong town, wrong price

There are some folks with an outsized influence who really want a world-class aquatic center in Port Townsend. 
Ambitious idea, wrong town, wrong price tag, far too expensive as currently planned.
We might be able to consider a pool, somewhere, but only if we can also agree on a path that will take care of some other critical needs first. As my mother used to say, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
We need to be clear-eyed about the future of our city. Previous administrations, maybe even Brent Shirley’s, allowed our infrastructure to fall into despair. We cannot afford to continue this lack of responsibility. Future generations (our children and grand-children) have already been saddled with enormous financial burdens. They cannot afford to inherit a $50 million debt for a new aquatic center.
Maybe we can afford a rehab Mountain View pool, possibly a redesigned, less costly Port Hadlock pool, as suggested by some. I suspect that would be more likely to get some support from the rest of the county. It would certainly be more inclusive and diverse.
I suggest we all take a deep breath and step back from the brink of spending more money we don’t have. Instead, we can choose to become “Healthier Together,” physically, emotionally and financially.

Peter Bonyun
Port Townsend