The borough will close this summer due to structural problems, while officials work out a plan on whether to potentially spend up to $850,000 to replace the pool or some smaller amount to repair it.
“We cannot open it in the state it’s in, and there’s not enough time to have a new pool constructed by the spring,” said Director of James Stewart.
Stewart and Parks Department official Kim Eyre presented the issue to the joint Board of Mayor and Burgesses and Board of Finance on Monday, asking whether the boards would authorize any remaining funding for the proposal.
Public Works has $100,000 budgeted as a capital project toward pool repairs, but that won’t be enough to address the issues, such as cracked plaster and PVC piping concerns, according to a report by Clough, Harbor & Associates (CHA).
Stewart told the board members estimated costs — which CHA calculated — could include $80,000 for a design, potentially $180,000-$250,000 to fix existing problems or possibly $850,000 to completely redo the pool.
The potential $250,000 fix would last the borough an estimated five to seven years before another repair would be due, Stewart said.
But, Stewart — along with the board members — expressed skepticism on those costs. All of the board members asked about the assessed figures, particularly the potential $80,000 just to get a study going.
“I certainly don’t think it’s worth putting maybe $250,000 into it, and it’s probably going to be a lot more than that to Band-Aid it,” said Burgess Catherine Ersnky. “But I also think $80,000 is a lot to get an estimate and I think we can shop that around.”
The pool is roughly 40 years old and costs about $15,000 annually to maintain, Eyre said. Stewart said his department has spent the last four-five years chipping off damaged concrete and replacing it.
Eyre said 4,800 people came to the pool last year, with borough residents paying $1 to enter and out-of-towners spending $2. In 2011, the pool brought in about $7,800 in revenue.
Rather than make any decision Monday evening, the joint boards voted to table the item altogether, asking Stewart to compare costs with other municipalities in the state that have pools, or that have had new pools installed.
Stewart agreed, saying he felt it would be good to get another assessment before the borough executed any funding for the proposal.
Mayor Robert Mezzo suggested contacting municipalities that are in the same school District Reference Group (DRG) as Naugatuck, which is a classification based on demographics and socio-economics. Naugatuck is in the same DRG as Torrington, Stratford, Middletown and Norwich.
While all the board members agreed that the costs should be reexamined not all of the members were on board with the replacement initiative One member of the Board of Finance, Dan Sheriden, suggested that, given the potential $850,000 price tag, the borough shouldn’t be funding the pool in the future anymore.
He suggested the board members “put it into context” what is being spent annually on other operating costs.
“This facility is being used seven weeks out of the year, there are other alternatives here. There’s Hop Brook Lake, there’s the (), there’s the pool which we’re going to put some money into,” Sheriden said. “We have significant vehicle problems at the fire department that need to be addressed, significant vehicle problems with the Public Works Department that need to be addressed and we have a Board of Education that’s coming in and saying they’re going to be looking at some significant increases.”
Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, while not going so far as to say the borough should cease funding, agreed that the public safety concerns should come first. But, like other members, Rossi agreed the borough should examine other potential assessed costs, as well as other options, before committing to building a new pool altogether.