Public hearing on pool
|Cezly Collard swims laps at the Castle Dale pool.|
Many Emery County residents gathered at a public hearing to make comments on the proposed construction of a new pool. The hearing was held during the Emery County Commission meeting on July 18. Commissioner Drew Sitterud opened the hearing, "The Castle Dale pool is in disrepair and Mayor Neal Peacock said the pool will be closing at the end of this year. The city can no longer afford to maintain that pool. We have toured several pools and we don't have an architectural drawing yet. The pool is still in the planning stages. We will approach the Community Impact Board with the pool proposal. The cost of the pool has risen with the prices of concrete and metal going up. The architect has recommended a 25 meter six lane pool for indoor lap swimming and an outdoor play pool. The outdoor pool is 9,000 sq. ft with a slide and a sloping entrance. There will be a diving board, but no high dives. We are looking at a stainless steel pool liner which is maintenance free. The indoor pool would be heated. They are proposing heating the building with thermal heat. The indoor pool would stay open throughout the winter.
"The indoor pool building would be approximately 17,500 sq. ft. and would include handicap access. There would be men and women showers and family dressing rooms, an equipment room and a room for birthday parties. The floor would be colored concrete. The indoor pool would be well lit with glass on three sides and would open into the outdoor pool area. We are putting together a CIB application and looking for public input. We are hoping for a zero percent loan with a partial grant. The maximum the interest would be is 3.5 percent.
"We originally looked at locating the pool at the high school where the school district would donate the land and we've also looked at school property by Castle Dale Elementary; or we could go and purchase property. That hasn't been decided yet," said Sitterud.
Sitterud explained the proposals which shall be on the November ballot. He said $100,000 for an annual maintenance fee for the pool will be one of the items on the ballot.
The other proposal is for the purchase of municipal bonds for the cost of the pool. The pursuit of the pool will be contingent on a majority vote in favor of the pool from Emery County voters in November. Sitterud said if the vote is no, the county with withdraw the CIB grant/loan proposal.
"There are several plans, we want to see what's best for the people. It's important people understand there are two different levies," said Sitterud.
Alex Buxton, the county's financial advisor from Zions Bank said they have worked up an application for CIB which is due on Aug. 1. The bond would be repaid over a 30 year period. If the interest rate was 2.5 percent yearly payments would be approximately $190,000. With a $4 million loan at zero percent interest the payments would be approximately $134,000 per year. Commissioner Sitterud is a member of the CIB and also Bevan Wilson of Huntington which gives Emery County good representation on the board. If the vote passes for the pool then the bonds would be issued in late December or early January with pool construction beginning in the spring.
There would be no pool next year, unless Castle Dale would consider keeping the pool open one more year. Commissioner Gary Kofford explained the tax increase to cover the bonds would be less than $10 per year for residential property owners.
Sprinklers for the outside pool were also discussed. Commissioner Sitterud said the county might have a fight with the Utah Taxpayers Association, which is a watchdog organization for taxpayers, if the sprinklers are installed he said they contend the addition of sprinklers and water park type activities should be reserved for private business. Commissioner Sitterud said the county is prepared to fight against the taxpayers association, because of the small population of our area, a waterpark type business wouldn't be feasible.
A citizen said the sprinklers are a good idea for the younger children and kids who can't swim can run in the sprinklers. Commissioner Kofford said it's better to go ahead with the sprinklers to begin with rather than do it later on, because it would probably never happen.
Much education will need to be done in explaining to the people exactly what the tax increase for their property would be as well as the taxes for business owners.
A citizen wondered if Rocky Mountain Power had voiced an opinion about the project as they are the largest tax payer in the county and they haven't voiced an opinion as of the meeting date.
A citizen wondered if the other cities have been approached to pledge funding for maintenance and operation of the pool as Castle Dale has done. No other city has stepped forth as of this time. Castle Dale City is also donating the water for the pool. Castle Dale has operated the swimming pool for 42 years and has never made a cent on the pool, just operating it as a public service to the county children.
A citizen wondered if the project could be done where there is room for expansion like with ball fields, and a kitchen facility and other recreational opportunities.
The high school and elementary school students will be able to use the pool and a swim team will be developed at the high school. Swim meets and competitions will be held at the new pool. One citizen stressed the importance of teaching kids to swim because it is a lifesaving skill.
Castle Dale Mayor Neal Peacock felt if the county and school district are working together it will hold more weight with the CIB board. The schools could use the pool at no charge, but would be responsible for their own lifeguards and cleanup.
A swimming pool committee is being formed and if citizens are interested in being on the committee they can contact Mayor Peacock at 381-2115.