Closure of city pool still under consideration

Published 7:42 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The fate of the Bainbridge city pool has yet to be decided as the city rolls into Fiscal Year 2016.

In September, the Bainbridge City Council approved the FY16 operating budget with the condition city staff look into keeping at least the small, kiddie pool open at the Potter Street Community Center.

Staff estimate that it will cost $25,600 to operate that one pool and that an additional $23,000 will be needed to re-plaster the kiddie pool.

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“We could probably delay the re-plastering for another year, but eventually it will have to be done,” said Bainbridge city manager Chris Hobby. “It’s not a dollars and cents kind of decision, because it’ll never make money. It’s a quality of life decision. Does the benefit justify the cost?”

Hobby said that the city staff will not make a recommendation to the city council, and they will not present pool information until next spring when the council will have to make a decision.

“We’re just going to present the data. It will ultimately be a council decision,” Hobby said. “We’ll likely present that data in March after the council retreat. We’ll have a better sense of where we are with the city’s finances, and it’ll let the council make a more informed decision.”

The proposed operating budge for FY16 did not originally include money for operating the pool, but Councilwoman Roslyn Palmer pushed to look into keeping a portion of it open at the council’s September meeting.

“I think we can keep the pool open using a bit of creativity and reallocate some money from other areas with the budget that we have and not spend another dime and even keep that HR position in place,” Palmer said in September. “I don’t like closing any of it, but at least keep the children’s part open until we can afford to build our splash pad. I think it’s the right thing to do.”