The Baldwin County recreation pool facility sits inoperable because a new Americans with Disabilities Act certified one costs at lease $2 million.
During Tuesday's Baldwin County Commissioners' regular meeting, Commissioner Emily Davis, District 1, said the board needed to do “something about that pool.”
County Manager Ralph McMullen said he's waiting on direction from the commissioners.
“The pool is one of the (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) projects on the list,” McMullen said. “The cost to rehab that pool will be a sizeable amount of money. Unless the board votes to borrow that money, there will be no way we will be able to open that pool by the summer.”
Commission Chair Sammy Hall, District 3, mentioned that the county recreation department's entire budget equals the cost of a functional pool.
“The question is where are you going to get the money from?” Hall said. “What we are trying to do with these sales tax dollars is not spend any money until we collect it. Once we collect it, then we can determine where it's going to go.”
Recreation committee member Commissioner Tommy French, District 2, mentioned state property legislation affecting Central State Hospital facilities that could meet this recreation void.
“We are still looking at a lot more resources to bring to the community,” French said.
If CSH's Education and Work Activities Center (EWAC) is declared surplus by the state, the current campus redevelopment authority could negotiate reopening the pool facility.
The 25 meter, 3.5 foot heated, indoor ADA certified pool was fully operational besides a broken pump as of last spring.
• Board exploring revenue streams
Starting at the next scheduled work session, the County Commissioners will begin examining budget revenue streams.
McMullen said the first presentation and discussion would detail the occupation tax a.k.a. business licenses.
“We will start with the structure of the new law on occupation tax. We'll have comparisons to other communities,” the county manager said Tuesday. “We'll ask this board to review our current charges and be prepared in a future meeting to schedule a public hearing to get this tax improved.”
Following the first revenue evaluation are timber tax, excise tax, hotel/motel tax and various other fees.
“We are going to bring any and all revenue streams to work sessions every month,” McMullen said. “We'll make sure we are receiving the funds and taxes we should from these sources.”
Commissioner Henry Craig, District 4, was happy to hear the announcement and said it was critical the county “expedite” this process.
• County continuing sewer line work on Southside
Commissioners approved a resolution for the 2014 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application totaling $500,000 for additional sewer improvements on the Southside.
These grant funds would spark the second phase of a “multi-phase project to improve the county's existing sewer infrastructure and improve the quality of life for those residents,” according to McMullen.
He said the Underground Pipeline Rehabilitation for the 2012 CDBG funded sewer line improvements in the Frazier Drive area are complete.
On Frazier, root damage caused collapsed lines. Some lines were found broken or completely missing prior to the project.
McMullen said the finished Frazier work came in nearly $47,000 under budget.
“We will not deobligate that money,” the county manager said. “We will use these same funds in that target area to upgrade the water lines and put in new water meters.”
The current grant application for low to moderate-income areas spotlights Youngblood Road adjacent to Frazier.
“That's some of our old infrastructure,” McMullen said. “We are trying to get more improvements for that same area.”
The county manager said the total price tag surrounding the Youngblood phase is $592,000. The county's leverage and match if the grant comes through is $91,000.
“We can use SPLOST for this project,” McMullen said.
• Board appointments
Commissioners voted to reappoint Ed Walker, Paul Dean, Henry Craig and Dale Epps to the Fall Line Regional Development Authority Board of Directors.
Dr. Brad Mathias was also appointed to fill the Baldwin County Board of Health's licensed physician vacancy.