What You Get for the Price of a Pizza
When I was running for Town Council 2 years ago I started attending both Town and Village Board meetings so I could learn as much as I could about everything that our local government does. The Village was in the process of discussing what to do with the municipal pool. They were concerned that there was not enough use of it to support the expense to fix it. The list of repairs they had were quite costly. They stated that since constituents were not coming to meetings or calling them at home that there was mass apathy about the pool. There had been discussion about circulating a survey to gauge interest. At a meeting that fall (2 years ago) the board began a discussion that appeared to be going in the direction of closing the pool without the survey. Another Village resident and I spoke up and asked that they not do that and instead conduct the survey as previously agreed to.
A “survey” was circulated in the LeRoy Pennysaver. It asked some personal information and was not anonymous. It was not well responded to. About only 126 surveys were returned. The majority of those surveys supported having either a pool or a spray park. Given that this was not a significant percentage of the population it was disregarded and again the finger was pointed at mass apathy.
I did not win the seat that I sought on the Town Council, but I continued to attend meetings and to speak up about the pool. When I was campaigning for Town Council the pool was a big issue. Every person, save 1, that I spoke to who spoke about the pool came right out and said they wanted it and that it was a shame it had not been opened recently. I then decided to run for Village Board in 2010.
The back and forth about the pool went on for a few months and then at a Village Board meeting prior to the March 2010 Village elections a resolution to permanently close the pool was passed. I was then elected, along with Bob Taylor, and I was reminded that the people wanted the pool and that was I was elected.
being sworn in I continued the discussion about the pool. During the time since March 2010 a group of concerned citizens came forward with a plan to address the repairs that are needed for the pool to be brought up to code and opened. They solicited donations and have raised enough money to not only complete the repairs that are required, but also to update some of the facilities. They presented their idea to the Village Board this past spring, early summer, and asked that their donations be accepted and the pool be opened. In addition, to monetary donations they had donations of time, labor, and materials.
The back and forth continued and finally this past July the mayor put forth a resolution that in summary declared the pool and its buildings surplus. The pool could then be sold to LeRoy Pool, LLC for $1.00 and the land leased for 99 years. LeRoy Pool, LLC would then own and run the pool. The resolution also contained a pledge of $11,000 per year from the Village budget to the pool. This was in line with what the Village had budgeted for the past several years (until this last summer 2011 when it was not budgeted for). This resolution passed 4-1. The difficulty is that there was no such entity as LeRoy Pool, LLC.
During this time as well, concerned citizens who were in support of the pool packed the Village Boardroom during several meetings to speak up and discuss why they supported the pool (or not, as was the case with one person). In addition, a petition was circulated in support of opening the pool and pledging to help fund raise to keep it going. This petition was presented to the Village Board.
Rather than be discouraged, the group of concerned citizens asked the Town Council if they would buy the pool and run a recreation program out of it as they had in the past. In return the group would still contribute the money they had raised, as well as complete the needed repairs. They would continue on as a pool committee and continue to raise money to support the pool, which the Village funded the $11,000 that was agreed upon and the Town fund the same amount of money it had put towards the pool in the past. This is the same pledge that the group had made to the Village as well. The Town did not want to purchase the pool, but agreed that they would follow through on this plan if they could lease it for $1.00. They drew up a contract and signed it. The contract was sent to the Village attorney and the Village Board. The contract has yet to be voted on by the Village Board.
In addition, it should be noted that during the time between the resolution’s passing and the Town’s agreement to lease the pool, a group of concerned citizens (myself included) met with a representative from the County Health Department who shared with us what needs to be done in order to bring the pool up to code. Of the items that were listed, at least 2 had already been addressed before the pool was closed, depth markers around both pools and arrows on the pipes in the pump house showing direction of flow along with what the flow is. The rest are not anywhere near the cost that has been suggested, ie: putting garbage cans with lids in the locker/bathrooms, placing soap dispensers in the showers, hot water in the showers, a chlorine and ph test kit, and new resuscitation masks. In regards to the Virginia Graeme Baker Act (VGBA) pools with single drains are permitted in pools, such as the Le Roy pool, under certain conditions, including the drains being big enough to prevent blockage by a person and/or having an emergency shut off. This will be researched further and ensured that it meets the Federal Code.
A concerned citizen who has been very straightforward in negotiating all of this and who has supported opening the pool from the very beginning also put together the figures in regards to how much it will cost the average household to keep the pool going under these circumstances. $14.98 or the cost of a pizza. The sum of all of this discussion and indecision is the price of one pizza per year or a cup of coffee per month.