posted on July 13, 2011 22:36
It's a long way from $15,000 to $400,000. But Village of LeRoy resident Mike Welsh says all it takes to bridge that gap is a lot of volunteers.
In a letter read to the Village Board of Trustees Wednesday evening, Welsh (who is currently hospitalized) said that village residents on a community group to save the village public pool will raise the $15,000 he estimates is needed to fix the dilapidated swimming hole. That's compared to a prior repair figure produced by the board of $400,000.
Currently, the village pool is closed due to a combination of need for repairs, and low usage, according to Mayor Ged Brady. He explained back in February that the village no longer has necessary funds to open, close and operate the pool each summer, much less the cash on-hand to repair the pool.
But Mike Welsh estimates only $15,065.48 is needed, based on costs for concrete, paint, safety guards, and minor repairs to the pump system. And funds raised by the committee could exceed $34,000 if efforts are successful.
"My reading of past budgets allows me to give an estimate of $11,000 per year to the Village for its share of the costs," Welsh's letter reads. Those are general maintenance costs for the village to open and operate the pool. Welsh's operation estimate is a great deal cheaper than the prior costs to open and operate: in 2007, the village spent $26,231 and in 2008, another $37,513. The pool was closed in 2009.
"The completion of such a project...is dependent upon the good will of our officials working together with our citizens," Welsh's letter concluded. "It would be easy to throw up unnecessary roadblocks and shoot down this project."
But Village Trustees expressed doubts that residents understand the full scope of the problem.
"When all this work is said and done, we'll have to get it approved by the county, or some examining body," noted Dick O'Shea. "Would the committee be willing to pay the expenses to make any improvements that they have in mind?"
O'Shea took it one step further. "Would this committee of volunteers be willing to accept the ownership of the pool, if you could buy it at a very nominal price," he asked. Committee members could not immediately respond.
Trustee Greg Rogers brought a very practical concern. "The state property tax cap of 2%...that's going to put a big burden on us," he said. "I'm glad to see you guys are looking at fundraisers, because I think if we, LeRoy, are going to survive and still have programs...we're going to have to generate money from outside.
"The state's kind of backed us into that corner."
But committee member Tom Spadora was not about to let the board wriggle out of their share of responsibility.
"We're looking for the village to help support this. We want the village involved," he told the trustees. "We need you, too."
And fellow volunteer Tom McGinnis pointed out that the village had been somewhat incooperative as of late.
"We've shown we can raise more than enough. Will we open and close the pool, too? That's not quite fair to us," he said. "Not that we wouldn't look into that – but we've asked the board three times for a figure of what you spend each year!" Mayor Ged Brady submitted those numbers to the committee Wednesday evening.
A petition to keep the pool has been circulating the community, and has already gained over 300 signatures.
The only thing decided on the issue Wednesday was to move discussion to the next meeting on July 27th. At that time, the committee led by Mike Welsh hopes to present its final proposal to the Board of Trustees for approval.