Voters in the Upper Valley Park and Recreation Service Area will be asked to vote on a property tax increase, according to Chelan County Commissioner and Park and Recreation Service Area board member Shon Smith.

The hike will not be a new tax but will be part of a levy renewal to finance the community swimming pool in Leavenworth. 

Smith says the extra funding is needed. "Operating a pool is very expensive," said Smith. "And if the community wants to have a pool that they can utilize and be proud of, especially in the upper valley, as it's so hard to get here to these pools, then the residents up there are going to have to step up and say, 'Yes, we do support this.'" 

Smith shared the information from the most recent Upper Valley Park and Recreation Service Area (PRSA) board meeting with fellow Chelan County commissioners in a public meeting Monday.

He said the board estimated total of the new levy is about $75 a year on a $500,000 home. The levy would increase from $00.11 per $1,000 of assessed value to $00.15 per $1,000 of assessed value. The levy renewal and increase will be on the November general election ballot. 

Smith says a public awareness campaign will be started for the levy. 

"There's a group called the Friends of the Pool up there that has just started to help get that message out to residents to say. 'Hey, if you love the pool, it's going to take some work of all of us to keep it going up there."  

The current PRSA boundaries include the City of Leavenworth and extend out a portion of the Chumstick Highway, Icicle Road and East Leavenworth Road, and a portion of Peshastin, with most properties located just west of Highway 97. 

Smith said the board is also considering a ballot measure asking voters to extend the PRSA boundaries south to include the community of Dryden as well as north to Lake Wenatchee and the town of Plain. He said the board would consider placing such a measure on the ballot next year. 

The PRSA was formed in 1997 with the primary purpose of funding the reconstruction and maintenance of the community pool. 

The PRSA budget is separate from the city of Leavenworth's budget. However, the PRSA budget only includes collected property tax revenues from the Chelan County Treasurer’s Office that are transferred to the City. The City of Leavenworth in turn utilizes these funds for pool operations and maintenance. 

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