Susan Sorensen has been here before.
Earlier this month, Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center’s board of directors tabbed Sorensen as chair of the board for 2011.
Sorensen follows chair Erika Starks, who served as chair for two years.
Starks had succeeded Sorensen after Sorensen’s four years as SARC board chair.
“I think that SARC is a wonderful facility; I want it to continue,” Sorensen said.
“(Erika) did an excellent job. We will try to deal with the challenges before us.”
Some of those challenges include securing funding for a facility in its ninth year without public funding.
Built in 1988, the facility received voter-approved tax-dollar augmentation as a junior taxing district until 2002, when two levy proposals failed.
Since then, it has operated solely on facility user funds.
Sorensen said the board voted not to raise rates in 2011.
“We know that even though our (costs) are going up, with people being unemployed we couldn’t really justify increasing rates,” she said. “We didn’t want people to be priced out of the facility, because it can have a positive impact on your life.”
She noted that SARC pays about $10,000 annually in electricity and propane costs.
“We’re trying to figure out how to meet needs of the community and still pay our bills,” she said.
SARC will continue to offer discounts, Sorensen said, including corporate passes for five people (5 percent discount), 10 people (10 percent), 15 people (15 percent) or 20-plus people (20 percent). Active duty military personnel can receive a 20-percent discount by showing their current military ID card.
SARC hosts an open house on March 12 to show off the facility to those unfamiliar with what it has to offer.
The SARC board of commissioners — Sorensen, Starks, Melinda Griffith and Bob Macaulay — look to fill a position left open when longtime SARC user, board secretary and board commissioner Annette Kuss died in November 2010 (see box).
“Annie had a vast knowledge of the history of SARC; she was there from the beginning,” Sorensen said. “She was a wonderful friend (and) a giving person. I still haven’t gotten my grip that she’s not going to be there.”
Sorensen said a good candidate for SARC board director would be a person who “doesn’t have a personal agenda and … a team player.”
Said Sorensen, “My motto has been for years, when it comes to making a decision, what would do the most good for the largest number of people? You have to look at all the needs of all of the people.”