The Umatilla City Council decided against putting a measure to establish a Parks and Recreation?District to generate funds to help manage and operate the Umatilla Marina and RV Park at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Council members agreed not to abandon the possibility entirely, however, and may reconsider the idea when the facilitys lease expires in 2018.
The idea for the district arose when Umatilla city officials first began discussing taking over the lease for the marina and RV park about a year ago.
City Manager Bob Ward said there has been a lot of support for a district, and he thinks the idea is worth at least considering, but he has some reservations about pursuing the district now knowing that, in 2018, the Corps of Engineers will be opening up the lease option to anybody interested, including the tribes.
I thought that going to the voters for a parks and recreation district in 2014 for something that might completely come off the rails in 2018 was not a good idea, he said.
Ward said it was still possible to get the district measure on the ballot, but city officials would have to get all of their information to the elections office before November, which would require a bit of a struggle.
But I just wanted to get some sense from you if you feel it is worth the effort now or waiting until 2018 when we are looking at the 25-year lease for the facility, Ward said.
Councilman Bill Meade said he agreed with Ward.
I think that to go out there right now is a little too early, he said. It might be (there are) just a little more bond issues than the public wants to deal with.
Councilman George Fenton also agreed, stating that waiting a couple of years would give the city more experience running the marina and, in turn, more information that could be presented to the public later to support the creation of a district.
Ward said after the meeting the city will wait to assess the situation in 2017 before reintroducing the idea of a parks and recreation district. We are assuming that the Corps will pursue action on the lease before it expires in 2018, he said.
Ward said taking a few years would make officials more prepared for a decision down the road. He said in addition to the marina and RV park, the district would also oversee all of the area parks.