Opinion

SARC belongs to the community

 

A recent financial audit was done at Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center (SARC) to maximize internal controls and management oversight of SARC funds to protect your investment. SARC was found to be well-managed and no fraud was found, but we are instituting additional safeguards to enhance the financial safety of your facility. 

For the Dungeness Valley residents who may not be aware, SARC is a public facility that opened in 1988 with a $2 million bond that was paid off in 2004. Since the original construction, two major facility additions have been completed to better meet the recreational needs of this growing community.

Until December 2002, SARC received Maintenance and Operations funds, which provided over $250,000 a year or one-fourth of the annual budget. Since January 2003, SARC has remained open with only the fees from the users in the community and no funding from taxes. 

To supplement the shortfall of funds in recent years, SARC has withdrawn about $100,000 a year from the SARC reserve account to present a balanced budget to Clallam County. 

The use of this reserve money has allowed SARC to make minimal increases in user fees and remain more affordable but the reserve account funds cannot continue to support SARC indefinitely. 

SARC utilities have increased at the same rate as your household with an average monthly propane bill of $10,000. Maintenance on a 25-year-old building is a continual challenge and we are constantly faced with unexpected expenses to ensure a safe environment for our patrons. 

As an example, it will cost an unbudgeted $35,000 to repair the suspended acoustical ceiling in the pool area during the annual maintenance closure in September.

To encourage the community to see the variety of recreational opportunities that SARC offers, SARC is offering a 25-percent discount on general daily admissions during the upcoming Lavender Festival on July 20, 21 and 22: Adults $6, Youth $4 and Child $2. 

Additionally, a 10-percent discount on a six-month pass will be made available during those three days. 

SARC will have a booth with games for children and raffle prizes at the Carrie Blake Park Lavender Faire or stop by SARC at 610 N. Fifth Ave. to see that SARC has more than just a pool. You will find cardio equipment, free weights, a circuit room, gym, racquetball courts and other specialized equipment that you will not find in another recreational facility on the Olympic Peninsula. 

Again, SARC is not privately owned — it belongs to everyone in the community. SARC was built with your tax dollars. SARC needs your support to continue to meet the recreational and fitness needs of the Sequim community. 

Come check us out and see what SARC can do for you. 

The Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center board of commissioners includes Gil Goodman, Melinda Griffith, Bob Macaulay, Jan Richardson and Susan Sorensen.
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