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First Selectman Proposes Transferring $400,000 from Reserve Fund for Improvements at Mills Pond Pool

Selectmen to consider issue Wednesday, action would also require Board of Finance approval.

First Selectman Richard Barlow is recommending the town transfer $400,000 from its undesignated general fund balance for improvements to Mills Pond Pool.

The Board of Selectmen will take up the issue Wednesday evening and it would also require Board of Finance approval.

“The Board of Selectmen do consider it an important resource,” Barlow said.

The pool has gained a lot of attention recently as a group of residents recently made an effort to get town officials to add it to a list of projects voters will consider this November. Town officials said it was too late to add the project and said the town is not yet ready to move forward. Some in town alleged the town has not taken the deteriorating condition of the pool seriously and let it linger too long.

In the fall of 2011, the Parks and Recreation Department commissioned a $19,500 pool study by TLB Architecture of Chester. The funds were taken from $30,000 set aside in budget for pool study and renovations.

It suggested eventually building a new pool system but also made some short and mid-term recommendations. The short-term ones would cost an estimated $427,000.

Some of those items have been completed by the town and a others, such as some mechanical and safety changes by the town and new paint on the pool house by the Lions Club. Others such as new decking at an estimated $129,470 have not been completed. 

In addition to the $400,000, Barlow said the town would hopefully include another $100,000 in improvements in its 2013-2014 budget and earlier this year selectmen agreed that pending any unforeseen circumstances they would apply for Small Town Economic Assistance Program funds (STEAP) for the pool next year.

Barlow said transferring the $400,000 could actually help that effort since it would show a commitment to the facility.

“I think it puts us in a good position for the STEAP money,” he said.

Barlow said he envisions the decking and drainage, side repair and replastering and further mechanical upgrades as priorities. However, a committee with Parks and Recreation Director Brian Wilson and others would likely meet to help determine exactly how the money should be spent, he added.

The work should get the town through the next several years and perhaps in the next cycle of bonding, for which the town borrows money for large projects by selling municipal bonds and paying them back with interest over time, the pool could be included, Barlow said, adding that it would give the town time to determine the exact configuration it would want in a new or revamped facility.

Barlow also feels the town is in a good position to transfer the funds.

The town’s goal for the undesignated fund balance, or its reserves, is 10 percent of its operating budget.

Exact figures were not available this weekend, but as of April 1, 2012 it was estimated at $3,782,648, about 10.9 percent of the estimated 2012-2013 budget of $34,739,474.

In all, the fund should be bolstered about $700,000 to $800,000 in 2012, Barlow said.

Some of that money includes $450,000 it received in open space funding that had been tied up with the state due to access issues to the Cannon property, more than $250,000 in Federal Emergency management Agency reimbursements from last year’s storms and a surplus in the selectmen’s budget, Barlow said. 

The Wednesday selectmen's meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Canton Community Center, Room F. 

Betty September 10, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Wyatt is right. Canton is the largest employer in Canton. We are lucky here in Canton, some towns across our country have been unable to pay their employees. Wyatt, I am not sure I understand your question.
Wyatt September 11, 2012 at 01:41 PM
@Andrew. Anytime. Glad I was able to help you out.
Betty September 11, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Canton Taxpayer, From the BOS meeting handout: Town of Canton Tax Impact of Bonding $19.6 with Adj Refi Savings 10/1/2010 26.28 Mil Rate 10/1/2011 26.42 Mil Rate 10/1/2012 26.79 Mil Rate 10/1/2013 27.80 Mil Rate 10/1/2014 28.77 Mil Rate 10/1/2015 29.51 Mil Rate 10/1/2016 29.97 Mil Rate 10/1/2017 30.53 Mil Rate 10/1/2018 31.07 Mil Rate 10/1/2019 31.66 Mil Rate 10/1/2020 32.09 Mil Rate 10/1/2021 32.74 Mil Rate 10/1/2022 33.05 Mil Rate 10/1/2023 33.72 Mil Rate 10/1/2024 34.17 Mil Rate I thought this might help.
Canton Taxpayer September 11, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Wow....it helps tremendously while also instilling even more fear about my plans to be able to stay in Canton....those are huge leaps and that's assuming no new debt. They (Bd of Finance) are already talking about even more bonding in 2020!! Thanks Betty -- appreciate the cold hard numbers!
Betty September 11, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Donna, volunteers, and Twin, Thank you for all your efforts and generosity to help make Canton a better place. In these difficult times it is even more important to get by with help from our friends. . . Friends of Canton Library, The Friends are people like you — members of the community who support the library's goals and services. They advocate for the library and raise community awareness. Through their efforts, the Friends bridge the gap between a good library and recognition as a great library. Friends of Canton Football, We are the fundraising organization for Canton High School Football. Our goal each year is to raise the necessary funds to fully finance the High School football program. We receive no funding support from Canton High School or the Town of Canton. We rely soley on contributions from people like you. Simsbury Paw Meadow Dog Park, the park is the result of a three-year effort by volunteers, who felt the park would encourage patrons to visit the nearby businesses as well as interact socially at the park. The dog park is on town owned property. Simsbury has a town engineer, Canton eliminated the position.

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