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Congratulations to our EPRD board for election of new members, hiring a new executive director and completing negotiations to continue operations at Evergreen Lake. Despite not being as sexy and sensational as much of our daily news, these significant accomplishments are noteworthy — exactly the sort of news that residents within the EPRD look forward to as the board prioritizes outreach to residents.
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Turn out and results of the election demonstrate many EPRD residents’ recognition that now is a great time for EPRD to regroup, consolidate and plan for the future. A collective “breather” to reflect, collect and chat about what (and how) EPRD should strive to accomplish in the next 10-20 years is needed to re-energize community support, ensure sustainable, long-term financing and prioritize future endeavors.
Instead of taking on various new projects, EPRD is right to rally around creation of a strategic plan that focuses thought and open discussion on how projects fit into a larger vision of what Evergreen wants EPRD to be, as well as how to sustain and integrate EPRD into all other aspects of our community.
Please consider a few key planning principles: 1. Prioritize EPRD initiative(s) on facilities/developing opportunities that are unlikely to be available without EPRD; 2. long-term, conservative economic planning for operation, maintenance and replacement of existing facilities; 3. creating and maintaining a collaborative development and management approach to all projects and facilities; and 4. creating greater equity in financial responsibility for district residents and non-residents for EPRD services.
Project priorities: EPRD should prioritize community facilities/services that are not available commercially (pools, fields, dog park, etc.)
Sustainable, long-term economic planning: Demonstrate to EPRD taxpayers how current facilities will be paid for, operated and replaced without continual, future requests for additional funding. EPRD tax base is limited.
Collaborative management and projects: partner on all EPRD operations, facilities and projects with other entities. EPRD should not stand alone.
Use fee equity: EPRD must substantially increase charges for out-of-district users (or decrease residents’ use fees) so that there is near-equity between district taxpayer costs vs. out-of-district user costs.If this equity already exists, document and communicate this (hard numbers, please) to EPRD residents.
Evergreen residents generally recognize the value that EPRD brings to our community and even our property values. EPRD maintains the greatest level of community support when district residents feel that this value is accurately reflected in our annual tax assessments not being taken for granted.
Kurt Muenchow, Evergreen
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