4/29/2014 10:23:00 AM City council says no to pool fix
By David Richards
Byron's community pool, which is more than a quarter of a century old and is in need of major plumbing, tile and filter work, will not be fixed, at least not this year.
The city council voted 4-0 April 22 not to make the repairs to the pool, citing several reasons, including saving the insurance money for a new facility and the likelihood the fix would shorten the summer swim season considerably for 2014.
Councilman Matt Brekke was not at the meeting.
Meanwhile, council is expecting the Byron pool committee to submit its proposal for a new facility in the coming weeks, with a possible referendum going to voters in November. If a referendum fails, council said it would revisit the idea of fixing the current pool because there would be more time to finish the repairs by the start of the next pool season.
"I don't see the point in spending the money to fix it (now)," councilman Jason Snow said. "We should put it toward something for the future."
The repairs to the pool, which began with a broken pipe last summer and have snowballed from there, are now roughly $200,000, with insurance willing to cover $130,000 of that.
But those funds, council noted, can also go toward a new pool and would be better suited there.
"The long-term benefit is to build a new pool and save the money," Snow said.
Dan Berge, city staff, said the important thing now is to maintain the pool "to some degree" so if council decides to fix it in the future, the facility wouldn't be in worse shape.
Last year, the pool committee presented an elaborate proposal to the council for an aquatic center that included a zip line and water slides, but that option was tabled following several open house meetings and to revisit the possibility of an indoor pool. In December, the council unanimously approved to make the pool committee an official committee of the City of Byron.