Madras aquatic center bond fails

Voters shoot down tax increase

Published Nov 7, 2012 at 01:21AM

In a close vote, Madras-area voters decided against additional funding to the city’s only public pool Tuesday.

The Madras Aquatic Center District ballot measure would have cost taxpayers an additional 40 cents per $1,000 on property tax over five years.

With the levy failing, the aquatic center will continue to face budgetary issues. The facility will be forced to close several months each year and to cut its sports leagues to make up for the nonexistent funds. The center will continue to close in April and May as it has for the past two years, and will most likely extend the closure for a third month. The center may also cut down on staffing. The money from the levy would also have gone to a capital maintenance fund to repair pool equipment.

“We’ll have to continue putting Band-Aids on equipment,” said pool general manager Bobby DeRoest.

In 2004, voters approved a levy of 25 cents per $1,000 in property value to build the aquatic center and fund its operation.

However, with falling property values and the rising cost of natural gas and electricity, the levy has only covered about 30 percent of the aquatic center’s costs. The rest has been covered by facility fees.

For now, the pool facility will have to continue to seek out loans to make ends meet.

“In some ways, it will be business as usual,” DeRoest said. “We’ll continue to scrape by.”

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