Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

October 11, 2012

Tourism funding for pool short a vote

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — While the future of recreation in Pauls Valley will still include an outdoor aquatics center, securing all of the money to finish the project as intended experienced another delay Tuesday night.

It was during a city council meeting when council members were presented with a recommendation by the PV Tourism Board to support the pool project to help cover part of what remained beyond a previously approved $3.2 million loan.

However, confusion over the $100,000 suggested was expressed by Councilman Hal Blevins, who thought all of the taxpayer money needed had been dedicated and did not see why additional funds should be dedicated.

“My main question is we approved $3.2 million from the city to be paid for from the quarter cent sales tax period... and now we’re talking about $100,000 in the taxpayers’ money in addition to the $3.2 million, which I am opposed to,” said Blevins, who also asked how much money had been raised in the community.

“We approved that contingent on them raising anything additional over the 3.2... and what worries me is nobody can put an absolute figure.”

Vice Mayor Billy Riddle reminded Blevins that though the 20-year note from First United Bank was going to be paid back from the quarter cent for recreation, the possibility of also using tourism funding has been previously discussed on more than one occasion before the city council.

He added how a cap of $3.6 million for the total cost of the project does primarily mean the community must raise anything beyond $3.2 million, but it did not exclude help from the tourism board.

City Manager James Frizell explained how the money raised by the community so far included about $52,000 in an account set aside previously, about $50,000 from pool supporter Brent Grimmett and the possibility of $50,000 over time being considered by local business Covercraft.

Riddle then said this would likely mean at least $150,000 is still needed to be covered to guarantee amenities like the lap pool and bowl slide.

“They felt that it was in the best interest of the tourism board because they felt this is a tourist attraction and that we needed to include as much we could to get it built,” said Frizell.

“That’s how it was presented to them and that’s how they approached it.”

Blevins eventually made a motion to reject accepting the tourism money, and when there was no second the motion died on the floor. His explanation still included not approving any additional taxpayer money being used.

Riddle then made a motion to approve, with votes in support including his vote as well as Councilwoman Jocelyn Rushing and Mayor Tim Gamble and Blevins voting no. Since Councilman Gary Alfred was not present this resulted in a tie and a failure for the motion to pass.

Afterward, Frizell said the tourism recommendation would be listed once again on the following city council meeting agenda for Tuesday, Oct. 23.

In a phone call later with the PV Democrat he noted how the project itself has not been held up and that there is enough raised by the motel tax to comfortably handle giving $100,000 from tourism to the project.

He said everything is still moving forward with the project as expectations are the money will somehow be raised.

A special meeting to discuss it further is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15 at city hall.

“The tourism board would not have done that if they did not feel like they had the funds,” said Frizell. “Taking $100,000 is not going to hurt tourism.”