The West Jefferson Municipal Pool was $10,000 under its projected revenue for 2015, and now one council member is questioning whether the village should continue to operate the facility.
Council member Douglas Eakins suggested at Monday’s regular meeting that the council consider funding something else with the money going to the pool.
Eakins said the council should consider whether the money of the taxpayers could be invested in something that benefits more people.
“I’m wondering…could that money be spent in a better way, that actually benefits more people in the village?” Eakins said. “It’s something I’d like to look at.”
The council voted earlier in the evening to transfer $7,000 from the village’s general fund to its pool fund. Finance Director Debbie DiLeo said most of that money would go toward payroll and an OPERS payment.
Council president Ron Garver said the village has to subsidize the pool in order to fund it, and that the village has tried raising rates to make money. Rates were later lowered, but it did not bring in more memberships.
Garver said the 19 straight days of rain over this summer didn’t help the situation either.
Eakins added that attendance at the pool drops significantly in August, as school sports and other activities begin.
“It’s really only benefiting people in the village for not quite two months,” Eakins said.
Eakins suggested the West Jefferson Youth Athletic Association (WJYAA) as an example of an organization that could use the funding, a youth sports nonprofit that operates year-round, rather than just two months in the summer.
Mayor Darlene Steele said the pool is an option for all ages in the village, not just youth like WJYAA. Though many adults don’t use the pool, it’s there for them if they want it, Steele said.
“If we decide to do something different, it needs to be something that benefits all the taxpayers,” Steele said.
The pool faced closure in 2012 following a lifeguard shortage.
Council member Jim King said he believes the pool should stay open, subsidized or not.
Garver said if the village sells the pool, it is likely that no one will buy it because it is not likely to turn a profit. But if the village just closes the pool without a new owner, that luxury will be taken from the village.
“I guess that’s up for future councils to decide,” Garver said.
In other business at Monday’s meeting:
• An amendment to a previous resolution setting the pay of Steve Holland at the 20 year level was approved.
• A resolution was approved allowing the public service director to modify the agreement with URS Corporation to provide design and bidding services for the water treatment plant improvements and well field expansion project by increasing the scope of services at a cost not to exceed $143,318.
• Marci Darlington discussed Make a Difference Day, which will take place Oct. 24 and asked the mayor to issue a proclamation. Steele said she would likely issue one at the next meeting.
Brandon Semler can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @BrandonSemler.
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