Watertown projects costs to keep all 3 pools
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - “I requested the 10-year projection to see what the cost of three pools would be,” said Mayor Jeff Smith.
The results are in. The city comptroller released the findings of a study to project the cost of maintaining three pools in Watertown through the 2031-32 fiscal year. The results show it would cost the city at least $400,000 each of the next 7 years and more than half a million dollars in those final 3 years.
“Do we need three pools, for 12 weeks a year, at that expense and that cost? Nobody would do that with their own money,” said Smith.
Mayor Jeff Smith says it makes more sense to just keep the Thompson Park and Alteri Pools open. Council Member Cliff Olney remains firm in his stance of maintaining all three pools. He says it’s too early to look at the projected prices.
“This is like whack-a-mole right now for, you know, the fear mongering and the irresponsible, reckless behavior. The mayor knows those numbers are preliminary,” said Olney.
Council Member Lisa Ruggiero wants to keep all three pools around, too, and agrees it’s too early to look at those projected numbers, saying the costs of materials, wages, and pool hours could change.
She says the council needs to determine the exact cost to repair the Flynn pool first as the city engineer estimates fixing it would cost around $750,000. Ruggiero says this year’s expected costs for maintaining two pools is about $250,000.
“In the realm of things, it’s a very small number when you look at everything else,” said Ruggiero.
On the other hand, Council Member Sarah Compo Pierce is backing up Mayor Smith. She says it’s not worth the money to maintain that third pool, especially when the hydropower contract is up at the end of the decade.
“We need to also be making decisions today that put us in a good financial position for when that contract ends,” said Compo Pierce.
Compo Pierce has suggested the idea of turning the Flynn Pool into a splash pad-ice rink hybrid, saying it can be used year-round and would be cheaper than maintaining a pool.
We reached out to Council Member Patrick Hickey for this story, but he did not respond. He campaigned on keeping three pools in the city.
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