After months of study your City Council has directed that the Centennial Park swimming pool be put back in operation for the Summer season, 2016. The pool was closed a few years ago to save money when the recession hit.
It’s going to take some serious money to bring the pool out of mothballs. One-time deferred maintenance costs and expenses associated with complying with upgraded handicap access requirements will cost more than $345,000. Annual operations will cost about $164,000. Citizens have made it clear, however, that re-opening the pool is a top priority. The City Council and staff will work hard to keep costs down. I and other Council members have volunteered to spearhead community fundraisers to defray the ongoing cost of operations.
Centennial Park Pool re-opens. Promise made. Promise kept.
The pool decision was just one of many issues on the Council’s May 4th agenda. The Council met in closed session at 5 p.m. prior to the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. Adjournment didn’t come until midnight. What were we up to? Check it out:
We reviewed our policy regarding General Fund reserves. Currently our reserves amount to about 25% of our annual operations budget. The Council agreed it would be better to build reserves to 50%. Healthy reserves were a big part of the city’s ability to withstand the recession and we don’t want to get caught ill-prepared if the economy falters.
The Council reviewed and approved a new plan to speed up the plan check process in the Building Department. The plan is the result of multiple meetings with local builders. A new express process will be started for small projects and submissions to outside plan check services will be scrutinized to reduce delays. The Building Department will also look into automating some of its process via a new software package.
Water, as always, was a big topic of discussion. The Council heard a report on the 2014 Water Master Plan, then requested more information before taking any action. The Council also took action to comply with a recent order from the State to reduce water usage. Stricter conservation measures are coming for the city and its residents. If the State’s targets are not met financial penalties may be put in place for those who use too much water. Be sure you check the city’s website, www.prcity.com, for more information. Drought conditions also prompted the Council to delay planting decorative trees around City water tanks.
The Council continues to execute plans to bring new vitality to the Paso Robles Airport. The next step is a complete evaluation of the city’s lease policies and rent structures.
Those are just some of the issues that kept us going until the midnight hour. Salutes and kudos to those members of the public who attended and hung in there with us until the end. Yes, it was a very long meeting, but sometimes we have to bear down and get stuff done. Last night that’s just what we did.
That’s it for now.
Until next we blog, here’s to you Paso Robles!