The Winamac Town Council received an update Monday on the progress of the town’s new park board. Council members established the board earlier this year, in part, to oversee Winamac’s swimming pool rebuilding project and open the door to new grant funding opportunities.
During this week’s town council meeting, Park Board President Courtney Poor said so far, the transition appears to be going well. “It’s more business as usual right now, specifically because we’re still operating under the budget that you folks had come up with, which was fine, but there will be other things that we will be incorporating in the budget that we submit to you, for your approval, ” he said.
The park board plans to craft its first budget during a work session on August 22. Poor says one thing that will be included is funding for the operation of the town pool, once it’s rebuilt, “I know that we’re going to be coming up with our own budget, but we need to make you aware that within our own budget, we’re going to have to start incorporating maintenance. And we believe from what we’ve been told that the maintenance on that will probably be $40,000 a year.”
That figure includes all the anticipated costs of running the pool, including lifeguards and other expenses. However, income generated from pool admissions will likely offset at least some of that.
The town previously budgeted that amount in its Recreation Fund, but since the closure of the old pool, that money’s been put to other uses, according to Clerk-Treasurer Melanie Berger. “We’d moved Recreation to Park, so we had a balanced budget because we were in a hole in Park for 2016’s budget,” she said. “So we reallocated so we had a balanced budget for Park because we weren’t using Recreation. So if we’re going to add more to Recreation we’re going to have to take money from somewhere else. If you’re going to keep Park as a balanced budget, then we’ll have to get Recreation as a balanced budget, we’ll have to find money from another fund, and it may have to come from General.”
Poor also told the council that park board members have decided not to request payment for serving on the board, at least until next year’s budget takes effect. However, the town council approved his request to pay Berger a fee of $30 per meeting for serving as park board secretary.