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Dearborn Pools Group Halts, Questions Neighborhood Funding Plan

Concerns about the city's ability to pay, plus the actual costs to residents, are holding up progress on the Special Assessment District plan for Dearborn's small pools.

Plans to set up special assessment districts to help offset operating costs for Dearborn’s six neighborhood pools have been put on hold, the Save Our Pools group announced Monday.

In a memo given to city officials, the group said that, “residents feel there are too many questions and not enough answers” to move forward with a ballot proposal on the issue at this time.

The Outdoor Pools Committee had hoped, through ballot questions, , 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.

Petition signatures from residents in each proposed SAD area were set to be turned in by April 30; SOP, however, said that they will not be turning in the majority of the signatures “until Dearborn residents get those answers.”

Specifically, SOP said they have concerns about the actual cost to residents, as well as the city’s ability to continue to fund the small pools.

All future capital improvement and operational costs for the pools are, at this point, estimates. Costs are estimated at $500,000 or $600,000 in capital improvements, while annual operating costs were estimated at $60,800 per pool.

But the exact amount residents would be required to fund through an SAD cannot be determined until the city has bid out the work–something that was not proposed to happen until much later in the process.

Additionally, SOP questioned the city’s continued stance that they cannot afford to fund the pools.

Budget documents for fiscal years 2013 and beyond detail the city’s capital improvement plans. Among them is construction of an "aquatic facility” at . The cost is estimated at $4 million, which the city hopes to fund through bonds.

The city has maintained throughout the pools discussion that it would fully fund any upgrades to the pools at and Ford Woods parks.

But costs of that magnitude, SOP said, left supporters of the city’s pools questioning why residents should bear the burden of operating costs for the other six pools.

“Many other questions have been raised as it relates to the control a SAD would have over its own pool operation hours, the fairness of the tag structure, the potential for a city-wide vote, and whether this vote is even necessary when the money is being planned in the budget,” the group wrote in their statement to the city. “Throughout this process, SOP has had to respond to residents’ questions on these issues and others with ‘we really aren’t sure.’ Residents are asking that their questions be answered before they sign the required petitions.”

SOP reiterated that it is still committed to working with the city on keeping Dearborn’s neighborhood pools open. However, they said they felt it was too soon to take the issue to the ballot.

Contact the Save Our Pools group via email at saveourpools@yahoo.com , or check out their blog at www.saveoursmallpools.blogspot.com.

City of Dearborn (Editor) May 01, 2012 at 12:48 PM
What do you think of the city borrowing money to fix up Ford Woods? Good investment or waste of money?
Frank Lee May 01, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Congratulations to SOP. It is obvious that this mayor is an unaccountable crybaby who runs an administration that is a mirror copy of Wayne County only In miniature. What this city needs is a forensic audit, not more taxes. This city voted higher taxes to maintain our services and cultural assets and this mayor closed libraries and pools and now proposes buying a foreclosed building and borrowing 20 million to build himself a new office. In addition this mayor proposes more tax cuts for politically connected corporations, a convention center, bike trails, a high speed rail train station on low speed tracks, throwing good money after bad increasing by increasing dollars to the Ford Preforming Arts complex and more projects 35 miles from the city limits in Camp Dearborn. All I can say is hooray to SOP for realizing this Assement is another bait and switch from a mayor. This mayor cannot tell the truth because like Wayne County, there are so many projects run by cronies benefitting special interests that it has become an intractable mess. Until this administration deals with citizens in a transparent fashion nothing this mayor says or does is credible
Andree hnatiuk May 01, 2012 at 02:39 PM
SOP???
Andree hnatiuk May 01, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Sorry accidentally hit post! SOP??? has done a wonderful job in trying to protect our pools. People in their respective neighborhoods should not take these extra gratuities of summer relaxation for granted! Help support the SOP!
Margaret Schaefer May 01, 2012 at 02:51 PM
SOP=Standard Operating Procedure
Andree hnatiuk May 01, 2012 at 03:01 PM
I thought SOP was short for the SaveOur Pools group???
McCheese May 01, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Mayor McCheese has a 4 million dollar plan for an "Aquatic Center" at Ford Woods?? Let us all remember this and VOTE HIM OUT!!!!! He scams a millage from us, still wants to close our nice, small pools & libraries - - and he has a 4 million dollar plan for an Aquatic Center"???? Splash Park?? He won't quit, will he???????
Kristyn Taylor May 01, 2012 at 03:51 PM
There is also $13.6 million dollars for a Conference Center - $8.5 million by "donation" and $5 million by bonds and $100,000 from a budget fund.
Frank Lee May 01, 2012 at 04:16 PM
This conferance center should be the final straw. How will a conference center benefit the citizens of Dearborn. The mayor says we need to seperate wants from needs. We need recreation options for children not state sponsored welfare for corporations who will use a convention center a few times a year, while taxpayers pay the up keep year round. This mayor is a pathetic loser, who takes, takes, and gives to his cronies all the while putting the bill on the taxpayers.
Dearborn Taxpayer May 01, 2012 at 10:07 PM
The pool SAD's are a Bad Idea. This is just another way to extract more $$$ from the wallets of Dearborn taxpayers. An "aquatic facility” at Ford Woods Park is just a way for the Mayor and our "rubber stamp" council to buy votes on that side of town.
Frank Lee May 02, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I've said from the moment our Mayor announced closing the neighborhood pools it was not a money issue. Instead of closing the neighborhood pools and reducing the deficit or applying the minimal savings to a rainy day fund, he announces building a multi million dollar aquatic in a park that is primiraly used by non citizens. Ford Woods is a community park used by members of the greater Dearborn area, and not primarily used by Dearborn residents. Detroit can eliminate their recreation budget and their citizens can freeload off my taxes. This mayor has zero integrity and still does not understand what we want.
Suzy sunshine May 02, 2012 at 12:17 AM
SOP members should just set up their own back yard pools this summer. It will be the more honest way to go and probably cheaper in the long run. Children love to invite their friends over for pool parties. This mayor is not honest . Just save all your city pool ideas for a new mayor.
marooned in Dbn May 02, 2012 at 10:03 AM
Did you, yourself vote YES on that past tax increase ballot, or are you a recent convert against it now? I voted NO at 7 am on the day of the vote. I believe this "mayor" has a mental problem. He wants to close the pools. Then him and his cronies come up with another money raising scheme in the from of special tax districts to keep those pools open, shifting the cost directly on the backs of homeowners living near those pools. THEN, on top of all this, he wants a multimillion dollar "aquatic ctr." at Ford Woods park. What about the pools you say you cant afford, "mayor"? Those small pools were already PAID for by tax dollars a long time ago and if "operating costs" are such a problem, they should be filled in and something else should be placed on top of them like tennis courts, ect.
marooned in Dbn May 02, 2012 at 10:08 AM
I suggested a long time ago, in a related comment that folks who want a pool could buy their own and place it on their own property.
Dominic Raona May 07, 2012 at 02:18 PM
The sad note on this whole thing is that - Dearborn voters would gladly pay for the extra tax necessary for the pools to keep them open and keep our great city services. As was shown in the last millage to keep our libraries open. We like our services and libraries. What we voters have a hard time accepting is our politicians who mismanage money and use these issues to siphon more money for their "budgets". If we trusted our politicians we wouldn't have a problem paying the increase, but from what I heard from the Library, the millage just passed will not keep the libraries open for more than a year. Whats up with that?
Emily May 17, 2012 at 08:39 PM
So, several issues with the "just buy your own pool" idea: One, it defeats the purpose of having a "neighborhood" pool when you are only inviting a few people over; two, it's very expensive both to buy a pool and pay for the increase in homeowner's insurance; and three, many of us in this area live on postage stamp-size lots and there's not really room to put in a pool if we actually want to have a yard. I realize the situation is frustrating, but I don't understand why this is your counterproposal.

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