Plans could come before residents as soon as this month, the city announced Thursday.
The Outdoor Pools Committee, Recreation Department and city officials met Thursday at to discuss a plan that they hope will secure the future of Dearborn's small pools by 2013.
The city hopes, through ballot questions, to establish SADs comprised of households surrounding the pools, which would be responsible for covering the capital improvements, operating costs and extra fees associated with each pool. SADs would, if approved by voters, cover the costs for 10 years for pools at , , and parks, as well as and , which were closed by the city in 2011 and will remained closed in 2012.
Plan Presented to Set SAD Boundaries, Costs
The Outdoor Pools Committee on Thursday outlined plans that estimated the costs to ugrade and maintain the pools, as well as which homes would fall within the proposed SADs.
Costs would come to an estimated $500,000 or $600,000 in capital improvements, depending on whether pools are simply repaired, or upgraded. Annual operating costs were estimated at $60,800 per pool.
The City Council would ultimately set the SAD boundaries, but the committee "wanted to at least provide a recommendation as to where these boundaries would lie," explained Recreation Department Director Greg Orner.
Recommendations place about 2,000-3,000 residential parcels with each SAD, with the exception of Lapeer, which has only 910 residential parcels.
"Would city consider covering operating costs for Lapeer?" Orner proposed. “To get them in the ballpark with the other neighborhood pools.”
The yearly per-parcel cost, based on the number of homes and the operation and repair costs, would be anywhere from $37.82 to $68.28, excluding Lapeer, which could be as much as $142.64 if the city will not cover operating costs.
Much of the cost also depends on how households are separated–by parcel, or by household. That decision still needs to be ironed out by the city.
SAD Rollout Begins in March
The Outdoor Pools Committee plans to begin community education for the SAD program this month, explained member and Dearborn resident Kristin Taylor.
First, the committee needs to get petition signatures to put the SAD issue on the ballot.
"Each district would be required to have 100-200 signatures," Taylor said. "(Save Our Pools) has been working with our network in the neighborhoods and we will have captains that will really be pushing this drive for the signatures."
The petition drive will begin as soon as March 15, with hopes to present the signatures to City Council by April 15 and to have the issue approved for the ballot that same month.
A vote by each SAD to approve local funding of the pools would likely happen in June, the committee said.
All the while, Taylor added, the group will be holding educational forums at the , at neighborhood association meetings, and at local schools. Additionally, information will be presented to residents through a variety of media platforms.
Much of how the SAD plan will be rolled out, as well as how it will affect pool improvements, will be determined by public support of the plan.
Residents within the SADs would enjoy free access to their neighborhood pool all season long. Details about non-SAD residents' access to pools, as well as SAD residents' access to other Dearborn pools, is still up for debate.
Additionally, efforts are being discussed to offset the overall costs to SAD residents–including neighborhood fundraiser, corporate sponsorship of pools, and the acceptance of donations through the Dearborn Community Fund.
“We should all be committed, if these pass, to do our best to keep the cost down," said SOP leader Ryan Woods.
But first, the committee has to convince the city to put the issue on the ballot–and residents to vote for it.
Dearborn City Council member David Bazzy cautioned the committee against making the issue too complicated.
“I think you’re going to have your hands full just trying to get them passed," he said. "We’ve already seen that there’s a propensity to push back on tax issues, especially when you don’t see a viable benefit to yourself.”