Augusta pool financing options discussed

Christy Howell-Hoots - [email protected]
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AUGUSTA — Financing options for repairs to the Augusta pool were discussed Wednesday.

Mayor Wendell High said the currently outstanding bid for repairs to the pool is $325,000. However, when the current bidding contract, PSS Contractors, looked at the kiddie pool, High was informed that it would take another $15,000 to put in a new kiddie pool.

“That would take us up to about $340,000,” High said. “We would have to borrow around $200,000.”

According to High, he has looked into financing options. One bank told the city the finances are not in well enough shape for it to provide a loan, while a second bank said it would consider loaning the money to the city to repair the pool.

The second bank offered two options: a seven year loan with a repayment option of $2,900 or a month or a 10 year loan with seven years fixed at a rate of $2,300 per month.

“That’s where are now,” High said. “We would have to figure out how to get that money to come in.”

High offered three possibilities to raising the money in order to pay back the loan.

Those options include a nickel tax on the property tax role, an insurance tax raise of about two percent or a payroll tax increase.

The nickel tax option was discussed and considered by the city council on Wednesday.

Council Member Tay Kelsch said he would consider a tax that allowed the citizens of Augusta to have a say in it.

“If it’s not a hidden tax and if the citizens have a voice,” he said.

Other council members agreed.

City Attorney Cynthia Thompson said if the city wants to pursue a nickel tax, a notice would need to be published in the paper, followed by a public hearing. If the city were to approve the tax, the citizens would have so many days to decide if they want to file a petition to have the tax placed on the November election ballot.

“There’s a lot of ‘what ifs’ with it,” she said. “If it were to pass with no issue, it would go on the tax bills this year.”

Some funding has already been made available to the city for the pool renovations.

During a Bracken County Fiscal Court meeting earlier in March, magistrates approved an advance of $150,000 to the city in order to make repairs to the pool. The money was already given to the city each year in the amount of $7,500. Now, the city will receive 20 years of funding in a lump sum.

There is also a fundraiser underway on redbasket.org at https://redbasket.org/1628/repairing-the-augusta-pool.

The Augusta pool has been a point of discussion for city officials for several months.

There are several renovations that need to be completed for the pool to begin operating again. It was shut down early last summer because of the many problems. High said he did not believe the pool would be reopened this year because there is so much work that needs to be completed.

According to the scope of work provided to bidders, some of those renovations include removing the concrete floor, deck and wading pool in order to install new main drains, gutters, pool plumbing and wading pool plumbing, provide PVC I-Bar grating, replace concrete deck, add a 60 mil membrane using industry standard installation system, replace pool ladders with commercial pool ladders, keep the diving board, add handrail to the wading pool, provide signage and safety equipment and other work.

The city council also briefly discussed the tourism director position.

Currently tourism director, Lacey Holleran, will be leaving her position in order to take the job of tourism director in Maysville.

High said someone will be hired for the position, but only as a part-time director.

“We plan to have someone by the next meeting,” High said. “It will only be a part-time position.”

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Christy Howell-Hoots

[email protected]