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Pool.ec    Carlyle City Administrator Joel Laws and Parks Director Ricky Huge led a Jan. 5 informal meeting on what's needed to build a new city pool.
    The presentation, held at Case-Halstead Public Library's Maddux Room, also aimed at forming two volunteer subcommittees, for a capital campaign and a sales tax referendum.
    Participants were also tasked with coming up with a slogan for the referendum.
    Burbach Aquatics Inc. of Platteville, Wisconsin, has been tabbed to develop the city's vision for a new pool.
    Construction cost is estimated at $4,300,500 and a line item available at the meeting featured costs as low as $15,000 for a public address system to as high as $343,000 for design fees, permits, soil borings, site surveys and reimbursables.
    Laws briefly referred to the city's parks and recreation master plan, created in 2019 with volunteers throughout the community.
    The plan generated needed data and analysis for the city's parks system and included a survey of needs for that system.
    The plan also laid the groundwork for future projects, like a new pool.

    The existing pool was built in 1955, and Laws said a technical evaluation conducted by Burbach in 2019 revealed a number of areas that needed improvement.
    On a given year it can cost between $20,000 and $30,000 to operate the pool.
    The cost to repair existing problems at the pool is estimated at $2.1 million, while renovation of the facility would cost $4.3 million.
    Carlyle Mayor Judy Smith pointed out images in the presentation representing what she called "the guts of the pool," the existing mechanical and chemical treatment rooms and related equipment.
    She said a lot of that equipment is "being held together by ratchet straps, that's how bad it is."
    She had Laws point out the entrance to the room, a concrete tunnel-like walkway.
    Smith said the lifeguards and pool managers have to go down in that room and deal with the chemicals and their related fumes.
    "We're lucky that no one has yet been overcome by fumes to the point that they've had to be taken to the hospital," Smith said.
    Huge said when you are looking at the cost to repair versus renovation, the repair is only a 25-year lifespan, whereas the renovation is a 50-year lifespan.
    The difference is, looking at the numbers, "You'd actually get more out of doing the new pool facility for the $4.3 million," Huge said.
    With funding in place, the idea is to begin construction this fall with the opening in the spring of 2023.
    Push for funding
    In order to finance this project, Laws said what's being proposed is the parks and recreation & capital improvement referendum.
    "To clear things up tonight, we're not asking for a tax simply for the swimming pool," Laws said. "We're asking for the tax for improvements throughout the city, but more importantly, for parks and recreation."
    Laws said the swimming pool project is number one on that list.
    Laws said once the pool project is done, the city can move on to other projects throughout the city and at other parks.
    Smith said the money would stay in the city's parks program, which Laws concurred.
    The last referendum in Carlyle, in 2017, was passed for streets and alley and infrastructure repair.
    "At the time, we had a sales tax at a state minimum of 6.25%," Laws said. When the referendum was passed, that percentage increased to 6.75%.
    Since it's passage, the city of Carlyle has collected $1.3 million in sales revenue, which roughly comes to about $250,000 a year.
    The city has also spent over $3 million in repairs in just sewer projects alone.
    Laws said the simple math shows the city doesn't "have some nest egg of money that we're sitting on." The city is paying off debt it has incurred for those sewer projects with the money that's being generated from the sales tax.
    Local figures
    Laws shared some local tax figures with those in attendance. He said Breese, Centralia and Trenton all have what are known as business district taxes.
    Breese and Centralia are at 7.25%, New Baden and Greenville are at 7.75%, Trenton is at 7.5% and Lebanon is at 7.85%.
    Laws said it's important to know that the proposed tax will not raise one's property tax.
    "I know a lot of people get that confused; this is strictly sales tax," Laws said.
    The vote will be taken on June 28. That date was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    "That's why we have a little bit more time to sit on this and present this to you," Laws said. Originally this would have needed to be filed in December 2021, to get it on the April ballot.
    The tax would equal 50 cents for every $100 spent in the city, Laws said.
    If the referendum is approved, that sales tax rate would go from 6.75% to 7.25%, which would put Carlyle in line with Breese and Centralia.
    Two groups, their goalsIn developing a strategy to raise money for the pool's revitalization, comes the capital campaign.
    Laws said the more money that's raised, by the time they get to the polls in June, the easier it likely will be for the sales tax increase to be approved.
    Smith said typically 1.5 million people visit Carlyle Lake annually. Last year it was reported the lake drew nearly three million visitors.
    The expectation is that those visitors, as they spend money in Carlyle, will help finance the new pool project.
    So if the new sales tax goes into effect, Laws said hopefully in five or 10 years, the pool would be paid off.
    Also with the capital campaign is the ability to seek specific tangible donations, Laws said.
    For the capital campaign, city officials and staff can take part and related meetings can be held on city property. The campaign can be continued for as long as it's needed.
    For the support of the referendum, the city cannot be involved other than as a resource for information.
    Related meetings cannot be held on city property, and the city cannot finance materials like yard signs and brochures.
    Social media will be one outlet those involved will pursue in getting their message out.
    Likewise, is visiting civic and service organizations like the Rotary Club and Lions Club, to spread the word about what they are hoping to accomplish.
    Through brainstorming, the group and council came up with the slogan "CIA - Carlyle Inclusive Aquatics," with a tag line "Making the Pool Cool Again."
    And one of the group's members has created a logo for the campaign.
    Laws likened the city's participation to a silent partner, where the citizens of Carlyle take an active role in this aspect of the project.
    Anyone with questions, can contact Laws at (618) 594-5204 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Huge at (618) 594-5205 or parkdirector@carlyle lake.com.