Archive for Thursday, December 5, 2002

Council dives into pool decisions

December 5, 2002

After more than a year of examination and contemplation, the Eudora City Council made some decisions about the fate of the city's swimming pool during a Nov. 25 meeting.

"City staff needs to get cracking," City Administrator Mike Yanez said, underscoring the importance of making some decisions now if a bond will go in front of voters in April 2003.

That night, the council agreed it would be best to build a new pool rather than renovate the failing 1970s facility. Council members also said they would prefer putting a referendum for general obligation bonds before voters in April 2003, although Rex Burkhardt said he would want voters to have a say even if the project were paid with certificates of participation. If the bond failed, Mayor Ron Conner said the city would have to look at closing the pool.

The Council decided to give more thought to debt repayment, although Conner suggested spreading the estimated $2.3 million cost over 15 years.

Yanez said the council could sit on the subject for a while until it knew for certain how much money the city would have to raise.

"You could start at eight mills, but that will shrink over time with more growth (in Eudora)," he said.

Yanez also suggested instituting a half-percent sales tax that could run 10 or 15 years.

Conner reminded the Council it needed to keep in mind taxpayers were asked to contribute to other projects in the community, too.

Because the city was also looking at acquiring more park land, council member Don Durkin said consideration of a new pool might be a good time to bring that idea before voters, too.

"This isn't only going to attract the pool people, but also the people who could benefit from a park," he said. "We've got to sell this to the voters."

The city will use Gilmore and Bell for bond counsel services, as it has in the past.

Ford Bohl and Associates, which gave the $2.3 million estimate, was chosen for design, construction and advisory services. Bohl designed the current Eudora pool as well as facilities for other area communities of similar scale.

"I think he has a feel for the type of community we are and where we want to go," Council member Willene Blackburn said.

The community made suggestions regarding the pool, Burkhardt said, including asking that the zero-depth area not replace a separate, safe pool for toddlers. However, the Council said some members of the community didn't even know zero-depth entry meant beach-like access to the pool.

"We need to get the public in here to look at our pictures," Yanez said. "The conceptual drawings are concepts only. We've got to now really draw the picture. There's a lot of work to do over the next 30 days."

That's when the city would have to submit the question to get it on the April ballot.

"We're building a project for all of our generations," Yanez said of the impact the pool would have on the community, young and old. "Putting together a pool is actually a lot of fun. It sure beats putting together a sewer system."

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