By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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The work will shut down the 225 E. Fifth St. facility, the only public pool in town, from May 25 to June 23.
Clallam County commissioners Tuesday approved a district request to issue a $650,000 general obligation bond to replace air-handling and mechanical room equipment.
The funds will be borrowed at 3.25 percent interest.
No additional taxes are planned for the bond, which will be paid for with existing levy and pool revenues.
The improvements will cost an estimated $661,000, boosting the price tag for renovating the facility to $1.4 million.
“This is another solid step for the pool,” County Commissioner Mike Doherty said.
He and Commissioner Jim McEntire voted to allow pool district commissioners to borrow the funds.
Commission Chairman Mike Chapman recused himself from the vote to allow himself to have a say later Tuesday as a pool district commissioner, when the pool board voted 4-0 to issue the bond to Kitsap Bank, Chapman said.
Doherty also is a pool district commissioner, as are City Council members Pat Downie and Brad Collins and Nippon Industries USA supervisor Gary Holmquist.
Doherty recused himself from voting as a pool district commissioner because he took part in the county commissioners' vote.
In 2009, when Port Angeles voters approved forming a new taxing district to run the pool, city officials were threatening to close the facility, built in 1962, because of its age and decrepit condition.
Voters were asked to support the district with 15 cents per $1,000 of valuation in property taxes.
Not asking for more
“We've not only run the pool for 15 cents [per 1,000 of valuation], we've rebuilt it from the ground up without asking for more money,” Chapman said in a separate interview.
“That's pretty impressive.
“Show me another government that's done that without asking for more money.”
When it was formed, the district was authorized to collect $525,000 in levy revenue, but declining property values have reduced that to $450,000 annually, pool Executive Director Steve Burke said in a later interview.
The district takes in about $225,000 in revenue from memberships, lessons and exercise programs.
“Because property values dropped, we dropped how much we were taking so it would not be more expensive for the public,” Burke said.
As a metropolitan taxing district, the district can collect up to 75 cents per $1,000 of valuation without a vote of the people.
“Our mandate from the voters was, we would levy what was needed for maintenance and operation of the pool, and that's nowhere near 75 cents,” Burke said.
The pool received 75,000 visits in 2012, an increase of 12 percent over 2011, Burke said.
The push has been to make the facility more energy-efficient, and that's what has happened as 1960s-era equipment has been replaced.
“Our engineers anticipated a 50 percent drop in energy consumption, which essentially pays for these products in eight years,” Burke said.
The facility was closed for more than a month last summer while piping and lighting were replaced and the pool repainted.
Just about everything in the facility has been renovated or replaced.
“What we haven't messed with is the walls, which our structural engineer said are fine and in good condition, and the pool shell itself, which is in fine condition,” Burke said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at email@example.com.