On June 29, bids for the construction of a new swimming pool in Chatfield will be opened. At the June 26 council meeting, Mayor Russ Smith explained he has heard from people within the community who are in favor of and who are against the construction of a new pool. Councilor Josh Broadwater was absent.
Smith spoke of rumblings in the community from some who feel there was not enough notice of the special referendum for the pool, which was held on November 7, 2017. One individual says the vote was put through without advertisement.
Smith did some research to find out if people should have known about the referendum. He gathered information and articles which appeared in the Chatfield News and in the opinion section. Meetings were held on the subject. A survey was sent out to every address in the city last summer to be returned by late July. Twenty-eight percent of the surveys were returned with 57% of respondents favoring the option to build a pool estimated to cost $4.4 million. The current pool is about 60 years old and not up to code.
The referendum resulted in 55% voting yes for the project, reflecting the survey results. Smith said, “I’m comfortable that it was advertised enough.” He acknowledged that events in the day to day lives of people could have interfered with seeing and responding to the survey at the time it was sent out.
The city has operated the swimming pool since the 1960s. It costs money to operate the pool, which is open 60 to 65 days each year. Smith said expenses outweigh revenues each day it is open. The city contributes $30,000 to $40,000 each season to pay the difference between revenues and expenses. He added that with the new pool, that contribution from the city for operational expenses will likely be more. A pool is something this community uses and will continue to use. It will cost the city money to keep it open. A new pool will be great for kids and the community, but it will never pay for itself.
Councilor Paul Novotny later commented that he agreed with the mayor’s comments. He said it was unfortunate that there were no other elections on the day of the special referendum. He acknowledged that some people may have forgot about it or were busy. But, when something is going to cost money, you tend to keep tabs on it. Most everyone knew what was going on. Novotny noted the pool will be the second largest expenditure for the city after the treatment plant.
Councilor Mike Urban agreed that it was advertised and covered by several local newspapers.
Other business in brief
• Three construction easements for the Highway 52 project were approved. For $2,800 the city grants the state a temporary right to construct for highway purposes (block 11, parcel 45). For $1,000 Chatfield EDA grants the state the right to construct for highway purposes (block 19, parcel 51). For $500 the city grants the state the right to construct for highway purposes (parcel 46, public square).
• Western Days Street Dance will be held August 11. Street closure of Second St. SW from Main to the alley, and the alley from Second St. to the end of VFW property was approved as of 8 a.m. on the 11th. The sidewalk is to be kept open. The street is to be re-opened at 3 a.m. Sunday morning and cleared so the city can come in and sweep it clean. Affected businesses are to be notified of the closure.
A temporary liquor license for the VFW Club to accommodate the street dance on August 11 was approved.
An extension of Jac’s on-sale liquor license to include its back parking lot and the alley was approved for the street dance.
• Jac’s on-sale liquor license was extended year-round to include an outdoor seating area behind the business. Bean bag tournaments are to be held in that area on Wednesday nights, May 1 through August 31, from 6-10 p.m.
• The state demographer reports the estimated 2017 Chatfield population at 2,858 and the number of households at 1,127. City Clerk Joel Young said this is a slight uptick from a year ago.
• The advertisement for two more firemen was approved.
• One-hundred cubic yards of wood fiber mulch for playgrounds will be purchased at a cost of $2,695.
• A resolution was adopted regarding Melissa Burnett’s probationary status. She was given a positive performance review after six months as CCTV administrator.