SIDNEY — Sidney City Council learned Monday there is a significant water leak coming from the intermediate pool at Sidney’s Water Park.
Council was introduced to an ordinance to increase appropriations by $135,000 to pay for water usage from the loss of water since the pool opened in June. This amount, however, is above the average subsidy per year of $84,000 the city pays to keep the pool open.
City Manager Mark Cundiff said city staff knew about a leak in the large pool, which is set for repairs to begin in August, but were unaware of the leak in the intermediate pool. The intermediate pool, which contains the slides, is connected to the baby pool.
Council member Joe Ratermann asked if the intermediate pool is currently closed and if it is currently still leaking, and how much money could be saved if it was closed immediately. He was told the pool remains open and is still leaking.
Finance Officer Ginger Adams guessed/estimated approximately $60,000 could potentially be saved if it was closed immediately for the period between July 24 until Aug. 12, when the pool is set to close for the season. Ratermann estimated it would cost approximately $42,000 to $43,000, and ask why the city wouldn’t choose to close the intermediate pool to save that amount of money.
Cundiff said numerous pool season passes have already been sold, which is for the use of the three pools. He expressed the view that the city would likely be urged by pass holders to return the pool pass amount paid if all three pools are not available for use. Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier said also the pool has several upcoming pool rentals that would need to be refunded as well.
When asked if there was a way to stop the leak without turning off the baby pool also, Gaier said the two pools filtration’s systems are tied together and therefore there is no way to close the intermediate pool without also closing the baby pool.
Gaier shared that the pool was closed an hour early Monday due low attendance and the condemnation response on Facebook was overwhelming. He, Vice Mayor Milligan and Cundiff felt that closing the intermediate pool would not be a good idea because it could result in not only protests from season pass holders, but also lower attendance.
Council member Steve Wagner said “logic” would say to close the intermediate pool and cut the losses, but he said he understands what the pool means to the community so “his heart” says to keep it open.
The ordinance is scheduled to return for further consideration at the Aug. 13 meeting. Council member Darryl Thurber felt they should discuss what to do before the Aug. 13 meeting, as the pool will be closing the day before, to potentially save $40,000 to $45,000. Milligan, whom was conducting the meeting in Mayor Mike Barhorst’s absence, said if they want to discuss the possibly of closing the pool early, they should add the discussion to the end of the agenda. However, at the end of the meeting, no one brought the issue up again during council comments to re-engage in the discussion.
Barhorst and Council member Ed Hamaker were absent on Monday and were excused by council.
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