Voters in southern Deschutes County are being asked to approve a local option levy for the La Pine Park and Recreation District next month. They should do so.

The district, which was created in 1990, is a sprawling one, covering 85 square miles and extending south from Fall River to the Klamath County line. It provides after-school activities for kids and children’s sports and recreation programs, as well as access to GED (high school diploma equivalency) and business classes for adults. It also offers a recreation program for adults.

The district didn’t have a tax base until 2009, when voters approved a permanent base of 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. Nine years later, that’s no longer enough money to pay for all the district does. It’s asking voters for an additional 22 cents per $1,000 each year for the next five years.

As district officials note, that would cost the owner of a $200,000 home $44 more per year than he or she pays currently. Put another way, at $3.67 per month, the increase is less than the price of a 12-ounce latte at Starbucks.

The additional money would be put to good use. It would provide funds for all-important maintenance and security as well as supporting the district’s range of programs. And, it would allow the district to operate five days a week rather than the current four.

Good parks and recreation programs are a valuable asset in any community, and they’re especially useful in rural areas, where opportunities for such things would be few and far between without them. At about $104 per year on a $200,000 home, the price is surely right.

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