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Council votes to more than double proposed addition to pool budget

“If you go four plus two that would equal six and that might be an appropriate amount, or however the council wishes to go on this.”

City Manager Taylour Tedder was referencing a proposed ballot question seeking to tap the city’s Capital Improvement Fund for up to $4 million towards the rapidly-inflating cost of constructing a new pool. But he was also noting that the $4 million proposed would not leave any kind of cushion to account for further inflation in construction costs.

And that is how what started as a proposal to put a question on the November ballot allowing the city to spend an additional $4 million on a pool became an actual ballot question asking to spend up to $9 million.

There were so many numbers being thrown around that it obviously caused some confusion.

Mayor Joe Hardy went through a list of the already-identified funding sources and asked where the $13 million was coming from, apparently assuming it was the amount that the city expects to go to the pool project from the still-not-finalized sale of land near Boulder Creek Golf Club known as Tract 350 for the construction of a large residential development by Toll Brothers.

City Attorney Brittany Walker interjected that $13 million was the uncommitted amount in the CIF.

“That would be four plus six plus 14 would be 24. Is that what we’re looking at?,” Hardy said, trying to pencil it all out. The initial response from staff was silence.

In previous reporting, it was said that tapping the CIF required a change to the city charter. That is not the case. Changes to the charter were mentioned in the background materials. However, the previous item passed on a unanimous vote with virtually no discussion. There was one question about cost for the ballot question from one councilmember and city staff’s presentation basically consisted of reading aloud almost exactly what was in the packet. In other words, there was no explanation as to why the charter was mentioned.

Walker addressed that in her introduction of the draft ballot question.

Tapping the CIF does not require a change to the charter. However, the charter requires that any expenditures from the CIF be approved by voters.

Walker also noted that the proposed ballot question is very similar to the one passed by voters in 2021, which approved $7 million from the same fund. She said that the CIF currently has about $13 million in it which is not committed to any other project.

Another term that was used in describing the dizzying number of sources of funding for a pool was “budget augmentation.” Budget augmentation does not, according to Tedder, mean an increase or augmentation in taxes or fees. He said that the city found itself with unexpected revenue at the end of the last fiscal year and could reallocate about $6 million from that pot as well.

In the end, the vote was unanimous to approve the proposed ballot question but to change the amount from $4 million to as much as $9 million.

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