Monticello may not reopen swimming pool
Mar 04, 2009 | 1241 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
by Anna Thayn Staff writer

The future of the Monticello City Swimming Pool may be only weeks from being decided. At their February 24 meeting, the Monticello City Council discussed the pool at length.

A motion to close and demolish the old pool did not receive enough votes to pass, with only three council members present. The motion came after a recommendation from the recreation committee to close the pool.

Several issues were cited, specifically that the pool is antiquated and would be difficult to open this year. City Manager Myron Lee said that it would be possible to open, but there would be some ramifications and significant costs to do so.

Several issues with the existing pool are of greatest concern, primarily dealing with a circulation pump that has gone out, and the structure around the pool. Councilman Scott Shakespeare expressed concern over opening a pool that is a serious safety hazard.

The recreation committee suggested closing the pool and using the money that would have been spent operating the pool on the new pool.

Mayor Doug Allen said that if the pool is not opened, the money should be put into savings for the new pool.

The council asked for a financial report on the pool, and an accounting of where the money will go that is saved. Lee will bring the numbers to the next council meeting.

Lee told the council that he recognizes it is an arduous task to close a facility that has been part of the community for more than 50 years. However, he is encouraged that in the next year they can find a funding package to build a replacement pool.

Lee said there is the potential to have a pool up and running within 20 months of finding funds.

Recreation Director Eddie Allred said the recreation committee recommended closing the pool because of excessive costs associated with opening this season.

Lee said that the Community Impact Board is a funding source for a new pool, and they will seek funding from the CIB this week.

Lee reported that the City seeks a funding package of $600,000 loan and $1.3 million grant for the aquatic center.

Mayor Allen expressed concern over what happens if it doesn’t go well at the CIB funding session. He is concerned that the pool could close for up to three years, and asked, “Are we better off trying to limp by until we can do it?”

Councilman Shakespeare said that if the decision is made to close, then the council needs to commit to find the money and get a new facility built. He expressed concern about spending a large amount of money to repair the pool this year.

“I think we are just throwing money away if we go through and try to do some of these things, because there is no guarantee we can keep it going even if we spend that kind of money,” said Shakespeare.

The motion was made to close the pool, prepare for demolition, and identify how savings will be earmarked for the new pool.

Councilman Brad Randall discussed a timeframe for the demolition, and suggested waiting until the CIB hearing is held to see what the funding picture looks like at that time.

Mayor Allen said that closing the pool would put pressure on the council to make something happen. Two councilmen voted in favor and one against, and the motion failed.

Randall, who voted against the motion, said that he would like to revisit the issue after the CIB hearings are held.

The Council received a request from the Victims of Mill Tailings Exposure committee that the city assist them in sending representatives to Washington D.C. to support a bill that is being presented by Senator Bob Bennett.

The group will meet with Congressman Jim Matheson in order to seek his support for a $1 million appropriation.

City Manager Myron Lee said that the committee has a budget of $2,500, of which they have used $700 this year. He reminded the council that a fund raiser at the golf course raised nearly $10,000 on behalf of the committee.

The actual cost of the trip is unknown, but the City is being asked to pay for airfare and hotels for two committee members.

Mayor Allen said that it is a very important issue, and they will go at the same time as the County Commissioners, so there will be good support for the group in Washington. The council approved a recommendation for the VMTE expenditure.

City Manager Myron Lee introduced Doug Rasmussen, of Smuin, Rich, and Marsing, who presented the City Council with the 2008 city audit report.

Rasmussen told the council that the City’s financial statements are fairly accurate. He presented the council with several other findings, including the need for the Municipal Building Authority (MBA) to have separate meetings and records.

The MBA was created several years ago, whenthe City took out a loan for a new fire station and public works building. The MBA is a separate entity, and as such has to keep it’s records and meetings separate from a city council meeting.

It was also recommended, but not required, that the MBA have a separate bank account.

Rassmussen told the council that the biggest issues with recording and transaction records are due to new employees and the need for training.

Regarding the city’s debt service reserve requirements, Rassmussen pointed out that the city is short approximately $90,000 in this fund. The monthly amount going into the fund is not sufficient. The council was told that making sure expenditures are accurately recorded is the most important concern.

Rassmussen told the council that he hoped they viewed the findings as a list of things to fix and help them make corrections. The city staff reported that are already in the process of making necessary changes.

The council approved a new city fee schedule. It includes new golf fees, including an increase in the 18-hole green fee and nine hole green fee, and creates a Junior 17 and under season pass for $75 or a $50 version if you don’t golf on weekends and holidays.

City Recreation Director Eddie Allred presented a fee proposal for rentals of City Park pavilions. Allred said that he has been receiving requests for family reunions, and in the absence of a policy for city park rentals, they came up with a proposal.

He said that the two large parks have restrooms and electrical outlets. Reservations at these pavilions require a $125 deposit, with $100 being refundable if the facility is left clean.

Mayor Allen questioned how to enforce the policy. Allred said that the City would need to put signs up at the facility letting people know that it is reserved for a specific event.

Allred said that the smaller parks with no restroom facilities would require a small cleaning deposit that is refundable.

The Council said that the city should be responsible for putting up a sign designating reservations.

The Airport committee recommended that the City increase the fees for annual hanger rental. The fee change would not effect current leases, but would go into effect on any new leases.

Other fees updated were a previously approved increase in business license fees.

In other business, the Council approved the appointment of Sheila Wells and Josh Keyes to the City Recreation Committee.

The council also approved alcoholic beverage licenses for Canyonlands Texaco and the Hideout Golf Club.
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