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— According to financial reports, the Decatur city swimming pool lost $9,463 this summer, a drain on the budget that council members are not sure the city can afford next year.

In 2008 the pool lost $8,367, causing council members to take a serious look at closing it last summer. It was decided to keep the pool open for one more year as a trial to see if it could become more financially viable.

Income was up but so were expenses. City attorney Tom Smith estimated the pool was open 90 days last summer, not counting the weekends when it was closed. According to his calculations, the pool cost an average of $126 a day and made $30 a day.

City administrative assistant Kim Wilkins pointed out there are were some non-reoccuring maintenance expenses that could bring the costs down next year.

Water department manager Rocky Mills was quick to reply that the pool is still in need of more repairs, such as a new fence and new concrete around the diving-board area, although he admitted that the fence will have to repaired for safety reasons whether or not the pool is re-opened.

Considering the basic expenses such as lifeguard salaries and the income from admissions and concessions, the pool would still be operating at a $4,000 loss, Mayor Bill Montgomery said.

“I don’t see how we can afford it,” Montgomery said, “Lets see what kind of feedback we get (from the community.) We are at our wits end.”

Montgomery asked community members to drop off suggestions at city hall or speak to a city council member.

“They can mail it to us, call it in or stop us on the street,” he said.

Mills said he will need a decision from the council by February so he can begin preparing to open the pool for the summer or shut it down for good.

Montgomery told Wilkins to put the issue on the agenda for next months meeting.

News, Pages 1 on 11/11/2009

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