Selah Aquatics Center funding levy failing in preliminary election results

SELAH, Wash. - For the second time, it appears voters have rejected the idea of approving a levy to fund the operation and maintenance of the new Selah Aquatic Center.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the levy had not reached the necessary 60 percent of votes to be approved, with 58.9 percent of the total, or 2,622 votes in favor and 41.1 percent of the total, or 1829 votes against. 

After the levy failed to pass in 2018 by just 42 votes, members of the Selah Park & Recreation Service Area — which operates the aquatic center — turned to community members for help.

They raised enough money to operate the pool when it opened in July, but were counting on the levy passing to keep it open long-term. 

The levy would have funded the pool’s maintenance and operations costs for six years, by increasing property taxes by 15 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value. 

That comes out to about $2.50 a month for a $250,000 home, a rate pool officials say could not increase during the period, but could decrease depending on the cost of operations. 

Pool officials say the levy asked for a lower tax increase than what they had asked voters to approve in 2018. 
Now, the aquatic center’s future is uncertain. While the results aren’t finalized yet, indications are that the pool will be without steady operational funding moving forward. 

Pool officials have said that they have enough funding from community donations and pool admissions revenue to keep open through at least Labor Day weekend. 

After that, they’ll have to figure out how to stay open and fundraise enough money to pay the required fee to put the levy in front of voters for a third time. 

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