Members of the Plymouth Common Council held a lengthy discussion on the Aquatic Center during their meeting Monday evening. In conclusion they approved advertising a public hearing for an additional appropriation to keep the facility operational for the remainder of the year.
Council members Robert Listenberger and Don Ecker met with Mayor Senter and the City Clerk Treasurer Jeanine Xaver to discuss a way to fund the monthly expenses of approximately $15,000 through the end of 2021.
Listenberger said, “Number one we want to keep the place open. It’s a beautiful building. It looks great out on 30. It would be a shame at this point to not continue.” He said there are two steps to keep the lights on and the second step is the management of it.”
Councilman Don Ecker said he thought splitting the funds needed by using half from the Rainy-Day Funds and the other half from the General Fund as a stop gap for this year. He said that would give them time to look for a long-term solution. He said the council would have to look at balancing out the funds so no one department is left short.
Jeanine Xaver did look at the city ordinance creating the Rainy-Day fund and it specifically says that funds can be spent on any city owned properties. She thought that might eliminate the use of those funds. She went on to say, “Before you take on an endless amount of debt you have to look at where we are going to be in a year or two years or three years because you cannot spend down the cash.” The clerk went on to say, “I understand funding it to get through the rest of this year but you’ll have to take a hard look at….you don’t have income to take this on permanently. My fear is you’re going to move forward because it’s a nice building and we are making the bond payments anyway. You have to consider the long run.” The clerk said the study done by BakerTilly is being updated with the 2020 actual numbers to give a clearer picture.
Councilman Listenberger said they should be discussing this issue with the school corporation and Ancilla. He said, “I think we have to give it this boost. It deserves one shot at least.
Councilman Greg Compton asked who actually owns the building and City Attorney Sean Surrisi said Marshall County Life Center Inc. owns the building and Marshall County Health & Wellness Inc. holds the master lease and the Dr. Susan Bardwell Swimming LLC is currently operating the pool.
Councilman Listenberger said the Plymouth Park Department said operating the aquatic center is not part of their vision.
Councilman Jeff Houin said there is more at stake here than the aquatic center. He said the United Way and Community Foundation building along with the childcare center is intertwined in this with the New Market Tax Credits that help to pay for all three projects. He also listed the school corporation and Ancilla College who have a vested interest who should be at the table as they work on a long-term solution.
The motion was made and unanimously approved to advertise for a public hearing for an additional appropriation of $150,000 with the funds coming out of the city’s Rainy Day Fund.