Decatur County Council, Commissioners discuss pool project funding

Decatur County Councilmembers discussed pool project funding with County Commissioners in attendance, either in the audience or virtually. (WRBI Photo)

(Greensburg, IN) – How to fund the planned aquatic center/pool project was the topic of a joint meeting of Decatur County Council and Commissioners Tuesday.

Councilmember Kenny Hooten requested the joint session and began the meeting by proposing a starting point of $4 million for the project.

“We’ve got to have a starting point, and $4 million is something that’s doable right now,” Hooten told WRBI News. “I’m not saying we’re going to be able to get it done for $4 million but we’ve got to have some kind of project number to start at. What can we get done with that? And then you move forward from there. That’s how you do projects. You’ve got to have an idea of what you can spend and what you can get for what you can spend.”

Besides the proposed food and beverage tax, both entities discussed another possible option.

“The EDIT tax is money that we can possibly use. There’s funding there,” he said. “As for the food and beverage tax, has a lot of good qualities to it. I’m not sure if the timing is right with the way the economy is right now. I’m not against the food and beverage tax but I thing we have to figure out how to use it to our advantage and not make it a burden to anybody else.

County Commissioner Tony Blodgett also serves on the pool committee, which has visited a number of pools in communities such as Shelbyville, Greenfield and North Vernon and gathered information on what a new pool would cost, what features it could conclude, among other matters.

“One of my main viewpoints on the whole project is to make sure that when we’re considering funding for it, we consider funding for all projects that need to be done and have a five-to-10-year outlook on how each will affect each other,” Blodgett told WRBI.

Those projects include fairgrounds renovation, the highway garage and the government annex.

Blodgett added that based on researching other pool projects, he doesn’t believe Decatur County will get much of a pool for $4 million.

All seven county council members – Hooten, Danny Peters, Deanna Burkart, Bill Metz, Ashley Hungate, Melanie Nobbe and Ernie Gauck – were in attendance.

Blodgett and fellow Commissioner Mark Koors were in the audience while Jeremy Pasel remotely joined the meeting.

The county is looking to replace aging Allen Memorial Pool, which was built more than 60 years ago and was closed last summer due to deteriorating conditions.

A vote on the proposed food and beverage tax is expected to take place at County Council’s January meeting.