Pool management debate continues

Posted: Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Assembly on Monday night considered a resolution that would establish an aquatic facilities advisory board for the Augustus Brown pool and the Dimond Park Aquatic Center, ultimately deciding to discuss that resolution, and how to change it, at a work session June 21.

The Assembly has debated the issue of a pool board, and whether or not a board, if it was established, should be empowered. A group of residents recommended an empowered board earlier this year.

At a May 19 meeting, the Assembly voted to table the idea of an empowered pool board, such as the one governing Eaglecrest, indefinitely.

The resolution the Assembly considered Monday outlined an advisory board that would report to the Assembly and would consider issues such as developing a cost recovery program for both facilities, drafting capital improvement project recommendations, offering rate and revenue recommendations and jointly presenting the facilities' budget. It would also develop a marketing plan for both pools.

Several people spoke against the board. Juneau resident Max Mertz, who spoke in February in support of a strong board, said there were serious issues that would impact the boards effectiveness.

Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee member Dixie Hood said the committee believed there should be an opportunity for recently hired aquatics manager Karin Richard-Jacobi to do her job, and took issue with the resolution's emphasis on financial matters over recreational ones.

Assembly members questioned how much of pool management should focus on cost recovery, how empowered a board should be, whether it was the right time to establish a board, and whether or not a pool board should report to the Assembly. Assembly member Jonathan Anderson said having an advisory board that would report to the Assembly is a recipe for confusion.

The Dimond Park Aquatic Center, next to Thunder Mountain High School, is scheduled to open early next year. If the Assembly was to approve the idea of an empowered board, it would have to do so by the end of August for a required vote of Juneau residents this fall.

• Contact reporter Mary Catharine Martin at 523-2276 or maryc.martin@juneauempire.com.

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