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Lake pool options presented at town hall

Lake Monticello residents will soon be asked to decide between funding options on a $900,000 pool replacement project.

More than 100 people turned out to a town hall meeting at Ashlawn Clubhouse on Sunday afternoon (March 5) to learn more about the Board of Directors’ rationale for replacing the community’s 41-year old swimming facility and the choices for funding.

Board President Richard Barringer led a presentation on the deterioration of the pool over the last decade. The current problems can be traced to 2006, when the then-Board of Directors was presented with a choice between re-tiling the pool at a cost of $200,000 or installing a $56,000 vinyl liner. They opted for the liner, which has now failed. 

In November of last year, a contractor reported to the Board that the liner could have hundreds of hidden leaks and may be obscuring structural flaws in the pool’s concrete shell. Combined with a growing list of problems with pumps and chemical delivery systems, and the possibility that removing the vinyl liner would uncover even more costly repairs, replacement seems to be the best option, Barringer said.

“The Board feels spending over $200,000 to repair a 41-year old pool is not a good financial decision without at least a 95 percent guarantee that the pool will remain viable for years to come,” said Barringer. In working with an engineering contractor, “We are not getting the vibes that I think we need that get us up to that high number.” 

Board Treasurer Marlene Weaver has estimated the cost to replace the pool at $580,000 to $750,000. However, the Board will ask for a “not to exceed” budget of $900,000 to make sure the project is fully funded. This figure is based on a similar-sized pool replacement project at Lake of the Woods in Orange County. 

The Board will present three funding scenarios. Members could elect to take all $900,000 from the $1.1 million Emergency Reserve Account (ERA). Another option would be a special dues assessment of $195 per lot, spread over two years. A third option would split the difference, withdrawing $436,000 from the ERA and asking the members for the remaining $464,000, or about $100 per lot. Any unspent money from the project would be refunded to the membership or the ERA.

Members will be presented these choices in a survey in Lake Views in the coming weeks. The most popular option will go to yes or no vote by the full membership in June. 

Over two dozen residents voiced concerns and suggestions on issues ranging from financing to drainage to what to do with the current pool site after it’s filled in. Recommendations by the parents of local swimmers to invest in a bubble that would allow the new pool to be used year-round were met with sustained applause.

Decisions on location and features will continue over the spring, with request for proposals going out after the funding issue is decided. 

“If the membership votes yes in June, we should have a new pool by 2018,” said Barringer.