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.