Pants on Fire

I want to apologize to readers of this blog and followers of the Pool the School and Stop the Tidal Wave in PWCS groups.  For the past several months I’ve been saying that I supported the “school pool” because we needed another pool in the county, provided the county, through parks and recreation, managed the pool and paid its debt service and operating costs.

I was wrong.  I based my opinion on information I was provided by elected officials in our government.  The information provided to me was incorrect.

The county should do what we voters authorized them to do in 2006 before it undertakes projects that haven’t been authorized by us. The pool at the 12th high school should not be built until we voters are asked if we want and are willing to pay increased taxes to provide a pool in a school.

In 2006 voters were asked to approve a referendum that would allow the county to issue bonds to pay for several improvements to parks and recreation facilities in the county.  One of those improvements was adding an additional pool to the Chinn Center.  Voters approved the referendum overwhelmingly.

The Chinn Center expansion was added to county long term plans starting in 2006.  Proffer money was disbursed to support the project.  In 2009, when the economy imploded, the project, and many others, disappeared from county long term plans.  While many of those projects have returned and some new ones have been added, expanding the Chinn Center has remained “missing”.

I’d been told by elected officials with PWC that the project to expand the Chinn Center had been abandoned because of cost concerns and because other projects were a higher priority.  I’d been told that the bonds that had been intended to pay to expand the Chinn Center had been spent on other projects and were gone.

That was incorrect.

Over $14 million in bonds remains from the 2006 referendum, as this document indicates.Remaining-2006-bonds-1

There is no reason for the county to build a pool at the 12th high school when it has failed to deliver on its promise to expand the Chinn Center. Voters authorized the county to issue debt to expand the Chinn Center in 2006. The BOCS has never asked the public if adding a pool to the Chinn Center should be abandoned nor have they ever debated abandoning the project in public session.  Several BOCS members have said that they were unaware that the Chinn Center expansion had been abandoned.

As <=== document indicates, it seems the Chinn Center expansion could still be alive and well as the money needed to expand it is still available.

Voters have never been asked if they want to issue debt to build a pool at the 12th high school.    They’ve never been asked if they’d consider a tax increase to pay for building and operating the pool at the 12th high school.

The delay in scheduling the meeting between the BOCS and School Board means there isn’t enough time for voters to be asked in the November election.

The voters spoke in 2006. They wanted the Chinn Center expanded. The money is still available to complete that project. The same benefits that would have conveyed with a pool at the 12th high school will convey with a new pool at the Chinn Center, and it could probably be delivered before 2016.

A pool could be added to the 12th high school or a different school at a later date if the additional pool at the Chinn Center still doesn’t meet our community’s needs and the voters want it.

The county needs to fulfill the promise it made to county residents in 2006 and add a new pool to the Chinn Center.


2 Responses to “Pants on Fire”

  1. Ken Reynolds Says:

    Excellent analysis Kelly!! In my opinion, a lot of West County infrastructure during the building boom in the 90s was paid for by Eastern PW taxpayers who long suffered the budget constraints of the time. It would be abundantly unfair from that standpoint, to take money designated for the eastern end of the county today and send it to the West.

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