BOTKINS — There was a general consensus at Tuesday night’s Botkins Village Council meeting that they needed to start coming up with a plan to re-do the Botkins Swimming Pool.
The discussion was started after they voted to allocate some money for repairs for the roof on the pool building, then Village Administrator Ryan Piche brought up that pretty soon the pool is going to need some pretty large capital improvements.
“It’s one of those things that we need to start planning for. It’s 40 years old. Can it be patched together for another 10 or 20? Sure, but after that we need to start making some decisions,” Council Member Craig Brown said.
Piche said, right now they are paying around $10,000 a year to the pool, and the people who maintain it are working their butts off to do so.
“Instead of paying 10 grand a year to patch, patch, patch, for say 15 to 20 years, you could have exactly what you wanted and just pay it off over time,” Piche said.
This opened up some discussion about some grants the village could apply for to help pay for a pool project. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has a few that could add up to around $75,000 if they were to receive both. It could cost anywhere around $100,000 to completely upgrade the pool.
Relocating the baby pool, creating a zero-depth entry, and making the gutters stainless steal, were all ideas discussed. They also discussed raising membership prices, comparative to neighboring villages. The price has only raised $10 in 16 years.
Piche also brought up it might be a good idea for the lifeguards and pool employees to be employees of the village instead of the pool committee in case of lawsuits or other issues. The village would provide oversight to these employees like they do all their others.
Council was in agreement to start exploring options related to the improvement of the pool, and maybe plan some other things further out.
Piche said it was time to start thinking about the 2017 budget. Council Member Steve Heuker asked if making accounts in the budget for certain long-term projects is feasible.
The way they pull money from the general fund for the money budgeted to the different funds, doesn’t make it easy to save money every year for certain projects, Piche said. There is no difference in the money made from speeding tickets and taxes when it’s in the general fund, but it’s just allocated to certain funds and needs throughout the year.
So basically it isn’t easier to separate the money out into smaller and smaller funds, Piche said, but they can start making further and further out forecasts on what they’re going to need to spend money on so many they can cut back on spending somewhere else. Like they spray for weeds less, or something small to save money in a certain area.
They agreed a five-year plan is probably the most conducive to Botkins, because a 10 or 20-year plan might be a little overkill, but they would like to be ahead of projects like the pool, or a new firetruck.
Also at the meeting Tuesday night, representatives from the Botkins Beautification Club, Community Club, and Historical Society, presented their idea to council for consideration.
There is a trend of communities charging a hotel/lodging tax to overnight guests, and since there is a hotel in Botkins, the local organizations see this as an opportunity to raise some funds for projects that beautify and enhance Botkins.
There is already a state tax applied to visitors, and come counties have the taxes too. These taxes are anywhere from 1 percent to 6 percent and can be set by the village council. Piche said there is an easy way for the owner of the hotel to keep track of these taxes and it can be processed in house.
The tax money generated from this tax would then be given to the organizations by the villages. If they would have to apply for the funds, or if they would just get a certain amount each year would still have to be determined by council, but there was agreement this is something they would like to look into and discuss some more.
Piche reported the Edgewood Street project is doing well and on-time. The water line was tested and the Botkins Commons are completely switched over to the new system.
The village is also looking at updating their website. They would like it to be friendly for mobile devices, and really make the village look impressive. They will get some quotes for the redesign and hopefully implement the changes soon.
More pool discussion, 2017 budget, and long-term planning will be discussed at the council’s September meetings: Sept. 13 and 27.
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825.