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Spending for proposed pool to be on Nov. ballot

During Tuesday’s Boulder City Council meeting, City Manager Taylour Tedder may have summed things up best.

“It’s more of a Toyota project than a Cadillac product,” he said.

He was referring to the proposed replacement for the aging city pool that has some residents questioning the price tag, which currently stands at almost $37 million and that could rise to as much as $44 million.

The discussion was part of the council being asked to retract the previously-approved placement on a future ballot seeking to get permission for the city to tap the Capital Improvement Fund (CIF) for up to $4 million to cover a gap in funding.

The new proposal would do two things. First, it would raise the “ask” from up to $4 million to up to $9 million. Second, it would remove a caveat saying the spending would be dependent on the funds being available in the CIF. Tedder explained that change by reporting that the fund currently has more than $12 million in uncommitted funds.

Following up on the “Toyota versus Cadillac” imagery, Councilmember Sherri Jorgensen noted that the original cost estimate from 2021 was just over $27 million.

“There is a lot that has happened since then,” Jorgensen said. “The American dollar isn’t going as far. Eggs cost more, so the pool is going to cost more. That’s the way it looks.”

Tedder had previously explained that the cost had come through a process that included a council-appointed pool committee which, over a number of months, came up with a list of features they would like to see in a replacement pool.

Those requirements were sent to the architecture and design firm SCA Design which developed plans and a projected cost of $27 million.

Jorgensen noted that over last summer, the city asked SCA for updated cost projections which came in at almost $37 million, an increase of about 36%.

“I just hesitate to wait any longer,” Jorgensen said. “Either we want a pool or we don’t want a pool. If, in two year’s time, we see inflation take the same Toyota and make it almost $10 million more… I can’t even imagine what it would cost in 2028.”

The council wants a pool.

Councilmember Cokie Booth asked Tedder to explain what the pool would cost city taxpayers.

Tedder replied that the cost was zero. No taxes were being raised and that the bulk of this money came from the sale of land as well as $7 million from the CIF that was already approved by voters. The CIF is, in turn, funded by city land sales, 90% of which go to the CIF and a portion of the money the city gets for leasing land in the Eldorado Valley to solar companies.

Tedder further noted that the fund gets an injection of about $3 million per year from those sources.

The vote to put a question on the November ballot asking voters to approve the CIF spending was unanimous, 4-0 with Councilmember Matt Fox absent.

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