Mt. Pleasant tries to iron out

potential school district contribution

to pool operation and maintenance

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

Nov. 2, 2017

 

MT PLEASANT—The Mt Pleasant City Council last week discussed the impact of a letter from the North Sanpete School District stating the school district had donated land for the splash pad and pool “in exchange for the use of the pool for the North Sanpete High School swim team.”

During the meeting on Oct. 24, Monte Bona, executive director of the Community Development and Renewal Agency (CDRA), gave a report concerning the letter and how it might impact operations, once the pool is complete.

Bona reminded the council that when it considered whether to build the pool or not, the primary issue was not the cost of the pool itself, but the cost of operation and maintenance (O&M).

“When we made our decision, we created a partnership of entities from around the north end of Sanpete County,” said Bona. The primary partners are the city of Mt Pleasant, Wasatch Academy and the North Sanpete School District. Two of those partners have made commitments as to how they will contribute to the O&M costs.

The City of Mt Pleasant will be all charge fees to swimming pool patrons. Those fees (which have not been set yet) will be different depending on whether the user is a Mt Pleasant resident or not.

Wasatch Academy has committed to pay Mt Pleasant $30,000 a year to offset the cost of O&M, in exchange for use of the pool for its swim team.

The issue of whether, or how much, the North Sanpete School District might pay for O&M has not yet been decided, Bona said. In past communications, the council and school district agreed they would continue to work on that issue.

The issue was brought to a head by the Oct. 16 letter from the school district. The letter says, in part, that the school district “[donated] the land for the splash pad, pool, parking area and park in exchange for the use of the pool for the North Sanpete High School swim team.”

It continues, “Since NSSD donated the property for a pool, and the pool’s useful life will expire in 50 years, NSSD accepts the property back for potential school use after the usefulness of the pool expires.” The letter does not mention any school district responsibility for O&M.

City Recorder Jane Banks told the council that the letter grew out of a meeting where she and Superintendent Samuel Ray discussed the issue of O & M costs. Banks said she told Ray  she could not find any evidence of an understanding being brought to the council.

Banks said Ray presented the letter to her and said he expected the council to sign it. Banks reported that Ray had told her “O&M was never on the table,” and “the land was it and nothing else.”

Bona cautioned the council to not overreact to the letter. “[The letter] doesn’t seem to be very precise,” he said. Without specific language pertaining to O&M costs, he said, no conclusions can be drawn as what the school district’s responsibilities would actually be.

“At this time, there is no agreement as to what they will pay. This letter is not precise as to what would happen.”

But the council expressed frustration with the school district’s apparent position,  Justin Atkinson said, “We got into this to act all together to get something done, and it seems ironic that the school district would seem to act alone now.”

The council agreed to further review the letter, and discuss it again at the Nov. 14 meeting, which they hoped Ray would attend.