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February 19, 2014

County pool renovations too costly

MILLEDGEVILLE —

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.

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