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No tax or fee increase for pool

Richard D. L. Fulton

(3/12) The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners took no formal action at their March 5 meeting on any of the several options available to help finance the management of the town swimming pool.

According to records provided by the town, the pool has never been self-sufficient during the course of the past six years.

Revenues generated through event fees and pool use permits have generally averaged between $18,000 and $21,0000 during that six year period, nowhere near the cost of actually maintaining and operating the pool.

Operational and maintenance costs have averaged between $42,000 and $62,000 during that same period.

After deducting the revenue generated, the town has been operating the pool at a "loss" of from $17,000 to $44,000, meaning the town taxpayers have been picking up that portion of the tab.

Town staff presented the commissioners with several options that would result in a self-sufficient operation, including increasing the pool use fee from the present amount of $3 to $12, charging a household recreation fee of $13.50 a quarter, or increase the town tax burden .03 cents per $100 of real estate assessment value.

Staff also suggested lesser amounts of each if only the annual deficit were to be addressed, and not the entire operations and maintenance costs.

Board President Christopher V. Staiger, however, noted, "The reality is the town government has always subsidized the pool. The pool revenue has never covered the costs. It stands out now because money is tight."

Staiger also pointed out that the town does not always recoup expenses for services performed.

In conclusion, the board declined to initiate any increase in taxes or fees, and to continue to have the town pay for the deficits.

Splash pool approved

The town Board of Commissioners also approved a $69,491 contract with Paddock Pools to install a "splash pool" at the site of the town swimming pool.

The project will be paid for in part by a Program Open Space grant in the amount of $45,000, with the town paying $23,491.

The motion to increase the rates was made by Commissioner Glenn Blanchard, seconded by Commissioner Tim O'Donnell, and adopted unanimously (Commissioner Patrick A. Joy absent).

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