Over the past two decades, the Sisters Park & Recreation District has grown from offering after-school activities to adding multiple facilities, youth and senior programs and various community events.

As it’s grown, the park and recreation district tax base has remained the same. Approved in 1998, the tax base is 22 cents per $1,000 assessed value, which equates to $60.72 per year for a homeowner with a house assessed at $276,000.

Bob Keefer, the park and recreation board chair, said the district charges fees and hosts fundraisers, but the primary funding comes from the tax base, which pays for the numerous facilities and programs.

“We’re doing all of that with the same tax base when we started,” Keefer said. “You can’t continue to support that through just fees and fundraisers.”

The park and recreation district is now asking Sisters residents to vote in the May 15 primary election to approve a new levy that would supplement the district’s tax base. The levy would add more than $200,000 each year over five years to the district.

A home with an assessed value of $276,000 would pay an additional $41.40 per year.

The added funds would go a long way for the district, according to Keefer.

For instance, the levy would help to address about $270,000 in deferred maintenance projects and set a scheduled maintenance program for the Coffield Community Center, district-owned baseball and softball fields, skate and bike parks and a disc golf course, he said.

Fees for after-school programs and youth sports could become more affordable from the levy. And youth programs, such as the district-run preschool and middle school sports, would be maintained, Keefer said. Senior health and fitness programs could also be expanded.

In addition, funds from the levy would be used for district-hosted community events, which were attended by more than 10,000 residents and visitors in 2017. Events include a luau, Kids Appreciation Day, annual lacrosse and basketball tournaments, the Glory Daze Car Show and community dinners.

“We want to create this great place to live without everyone having to pay a high fee or depend upon every fundraising event,” Keefer said.

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com

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