City Discusses Options To Keep Pool Open


At the Vermilion Parks & Recreation Board meeting of November 19, 2019, Brian Holmes conveyed that Mayor Forthofer gave a presentation to City Council on the Vermilion Community Pool. He would like to see the Parks Board and administration work together to come up with a resolution and a plan of what they're going to do with the pool moving forward. He couldn't say enough about the generosity of the residents providing donations to keep the pool open. He said the pool is a valuable part of the community, so hopefully they can come up with some sort of a solution.

Mayor Forthofer said the finance director has advised council that if they continue to spend what they're planning to spend then they'll be in deficit spending by the end of 2020. There are some unrecurring incomes the city had in 2019 that they won't have in 2020. Therefore, they need to be very careful on how they spend their money. By Charter, the council holds the purse strings and they decide on what to spend. The administration simply advises, and council administers those decisions. He provided data to the members and explained between 2018 and 2019 the individual memberships decreased from 5 to 2 due to the weather. Family memberships in 2018 were 46, and in 2019 they had 32. However, the estimated walk ups increased to 2,500 in 2019, from 2,000 in 2018. They believe it's because they didn't sell that many individual memberships because of the rain at the beginning of the season. The total seasonal costs for 2018 was $51,800; in 2019 it was $50,413. All income totaled $20,082 in 2018, and $16,942 in 2019 for a balance in 2018 of ($31,708) and ($33,471) in 2019. 

Tony Valerius, Service Director, said the city received a new heater through donation and the installation will cost around $4,000 because it will need to be retrofitted since it's not exactly like the other one. He said it will cost around $2,000 to replace the roof on the pool building, and leak repairs are estimated at $40,000 by Pool Tech. The concrete deck replacement is estimated at $67,700 – totaling $113,700 for all capital investments. Mayor Forthofer said they are losing about l” to l½” a day in water, which is 2,544 gallons of water a day, and they don't know where it's going but the pool shed often has standing water next to it. They are beyond patching the deck.

Mayor Forthofer said he has received phone calls from people asking where they can send their donations. Additionally, he received an email as the owner of Kingston wants to set up a meeting with the administration with regards to raising money for the proposed pool project in order to keep it running as it's very important to the community. 

Holmes thought they should enhance their pool programs. He suggested a “Movie in the Pool”, looking into vending options, and a solar cover to keep the pool warm to cut down on expenses.

Board Member Warden asked if the city has considered any corporate sponsorships. Holmes said the city would certainly be open to the idea. Mayor Forthofer thought a subcommittee could start looking at alternative ways to raise money for the pool. Holmes said the city does have a fund established for pool donations.

Parker said the two aspects to the pool are operating it and fixing it. He thought it would be easier to find the operating money from people, but the capital expenses seem to be a bigger challenge because it's infrastructure. Holmes said when they tear up the concrete, who knows what problems they could run into, so the numbers are just estimates – it could easily increase.

Warden asked the Service Director how much the average homeowner must pay for 66,320 gallons of water. Mayor Forthofer said 40% of the Water Plant's water is unaccounted for. 

Board Member Wakefield said so many communities are getting away from having and managing swimming pools. However, if they had the money to put into the pool what would be the best estimate in terms of longevity.

Valerius said the concrete shell may be in jeopardy as well, but they really don't know.

Parks Operation Manager Weisenberger said the concrete could last 20 years or so if it's winterized and maintained correctly.

Holmes said they can evolve into something more by possibly incorporating splash pads or a smaller separate kiddy pool, a slide or diving board, etc. They need to look at how they can make it program based.

Parker questioned if this is the best location for a pool if they look out to the future. Do people think of it as the city's pool, or still as a neighborhood pool. Before they put a ton of money into the pool this is something they should investigate as well.

Holmes said Phil Pempin had talked about evolving community based programs around the school and wondered where this was going. Mayor Forthofer said he spoke with Phil Pempin on the idea of having a pool on the school property, but it comes back to the maintenance. He said the Mayor of Avon told him that they need to think about spending half of what they spend in building a pool just for maintenance in the next 10 years.

Parker thought the creation of a subcommittee might be a starting place for the Parks Board. He will poll the board's interest and availability.

Scholtz asked Holmes what council's take was on ownership or financial commitment to the pool. Holmes said it was more geared by an administration point of view, as the finance director advised them to be cautious of deficit spending. He wasn't sure who on council was onboard or financially against supporting the pool.

Parker thought a few council members believed the Parks Board is flush. He said there is no way the Parks Board can or should handle all of this as a board. It doesn't make sense in terms of the best bang for the buck for them to do all the capital investments and operating. This doesn't seem fair in his opinion. 

Mayor Forthofer said a couple years ago he had mentioned the fact that maybe the city could come up with $10,000 or $15,000 each year, but the rest could be generated by fundraising or other things.