I live just outside the City of Camas in rural Clark County, but if I were in the city, I’d be voting no on the proposed $78 million city owned swimming pool. It’s not government’s role to build recreational aquatic centers that unfairly compete with the private sector. $78 million for a community pool? (Editor’s Note: the total bond is asking for $78 million; the estimated pool build cost is $37 million). That’s outrageous! Residents are already overtaxed today between local levies for fire districts, local school levies and bonds, libraries, and enormous never-before-seen gigantic property tax hikes passed by the Washington State Legislature to fund massive public education increases. Where does it end? Most people are fed up with their property tax bill as it is.
Furthermore, imagine how much it will cost annually to maintain and operate a $78 million recreational pool! Where is that money going to come from? Don’t forget about all those new government workers that will also be needed to operate the facility. They come with huge legacy costs, not just new salaries, but new pensions and new benefit costs that taxpayers will be on the hook to pay for.
If the recreational aquatics center is such a brilliant idea, why aren’t private sector businesses clamoring to get in on this business model?
Instead of building extravagant public swimming pools that most citizens cannot afford, I recommend city leaders focus on attracting more family wage jobs to our industrial areas so that more residents can work where they live. In doing so, more industries will help shoulder the property tax burden now crushing many of our working families. More good jobs in Camas will also reduce commuter traffic on SR 14 and across the river into Oregon. City leaders would also be wise to prioritize improving transportation congestion within the city to manage the choke points resulting from the thousands of new houses they keep approving! Quality of life in and around Camas is diminishing from traffic problems at peak times.
Camas has been a beautiful place to live for many generations of working class families. With recent actions, it almost appears as if City leaders want to relegate Camas forever as an overpriced bedroom community where only the wealthiest families can afford to live. There’s an election coming up. City taxpayers should pay attention to those on the ballot that continue to advocate for higher spending as opposed to those who insist Camas live within its means.
Pike is a three-term Washington State Representative.
Past article about this bond measure: https://lacamasmagazine.com/2019/07/camas-takes-community-aquatics-center-design-sports-field-renovations-to-next-step.html
The Camas website regarding Proposition 2 is www.camascommunityaquaticscenter.com