Thursday, October 27, 2005

Council Approves Pool Repairs But Demands Better Information

A delayed City Council vote on a $1.2 million bid for pool repairs passed Thursday, but not without more of the same kind of complaints that held it up 10 days ago.

Council members refused to vote on the measure Oct. 17 because administrators could not tell them what proportion of $750,000 in Green Acres funding for the project was grant money or a loan. On Thursday, City Administrator Norton Bonaparte's comment that Green Acres funding is almost always 50-50 did nothing to appease council members who felt that information should have been given at the Oct. 17 meeting.

Councilman Ray Blanco said he wanted to make a "tiny little correction" to Bonaparte's remark, noting nobody in the administration could answer at the prior meeting.

Blanco voted a "reluctant 'yes'" to the pool repairs and said it would be the last time he made such a "reluctant" vote for something presented as an emergency item.

"If it means that nothing gets done from here to eternity because it wouldn't get four votes, so be it," Blanco said.

Councilman Don Davis dressed down the administrators, saying, "You guys got to be more professional."

Councilman Rashid Burney voted "yes" for the pool repair bid, but said, "I feel like my hands were strapped behind my back" in the decision and said, "We're not getting enough information."

Burney said if the council can get adequate information from administrators, "It will really help the whole working relationship."

At the Oct. 17 meeting City Engineer Carl Turner said that the project had to be approved by Oct. 27 or risk having the pool project not being finished in time for next summer.

Recreation Director Dave Wynn said the large pool and kiddie pool at Rushmore Playground have been closed for at least three years. Children were bused to Hannah Atkins pool or to Seidler Field this summer, he said. But the Seidler pool also needs repairs, he said.

Corporation Counsel Jacqueline Drakeford raised the thought that many projects take place over a span of years and that even though the administration may view the council as a continuous body, members should be brought up to date on any given project.

--Bernice Paglia

KEYWORDS: budget, city council


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