Jefferson County residents approved the renewal of a levy that will fund maintenance and the recreation district at the Madras Aquatic Center.

After two failed efforts, the 40 cent tax was established in 2013 for four years. The renewal of the levy, now for five more years, was approved by nearly a 40 percent margin in Tuesday’s special election, according to unofficial results on the website for the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.

“I think this is a major statement from our community,” said Joe McHaney, MAC Recreation District executive director. “This shows the people are really supporting our efforts in the community. They are telling us they believe in recreation.”

The current 40 cent tax applies to $1,000 of assessed property value in the district’s territory. The vote in favor of the Madras levy renewal will not raise property taxes.

The funds raised since 2013 have been used to reduce loan debt, establish reserves for maintenance purposes and expand the programs offered through the recreation district.

The programs — both in and out of the water — include swim teams and swim lessons, water polo and water aerobics and sports like youth soccer, flag football and adult league basketball. The MAC Recreation District also coordinates 5K and 10K runs like the Turkey Trot.

The public endorsement was telling, McHaney said, from a results-watching party at Wild Winds Station in Madras, surrounded by at least 50 MAC supporters.

Going from a 1 percent margin of victory in 2013 to a nearly 40 percent margin of victory on Tuesday validates the efforts by staff and the board of directors in the previous four years, he added.

“We are just ecstatic,” McHaney said. “It’s our small town and recreation is a big deal. We want a better quality of life and this shows how important recreation is in our community. We look forward to another strong five years and continuing the efforts. This isn’t over.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7829, acolosky@bendbulletin.com

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