OGDEN -- The fate of two community swimming pools now rests with the voters.
The Ogden School Board on Thursday voted unanimously to stop subsidizing the maintenance and operation of pools at Ogden and Ben Lomond high schools. A June 25 election will let Ogden voters decide if they'll approve a property tax increase, amounting to $24 annually on an average home valued at $120,200, that would fund repairs and maintenance to save the pools.
The school district has been subsidizing the pools since 1990, at a cost of $260,000 a year, Superintendent Brad Smith said in March. As funding cuts have reduced resources, the school district has been forced to slow spending that doesn't directly benefit students.
"The pools cost the district money that should be going to schools," Smith said Thursday. "They're community pools, and if the community wants them, they'll vote to pay for them."
Smith said last month that the cost to repair both pools' mechanical systems would be a one-time expense of $1.1 million. Replacing bleachers that don't meet safety codes and making aesthetic improvements to the pool areas would cost an additional $1 million.
District spokeswoman Donna Corby said that after the one-time costs are paid for in three or four years, the cost to maintain the pools would be closer to $6 annually per household. But because June's ballot couldn't be written to reflect the lower cost of maintenance, future school board members would have to lower the tax.
Both pools currently serve the public, as well as school swim teams from both the Ogden and Weber school districts. If the tax increase doesn't pass, the pools will sit unused, Smith said. Organizations that currently use the pool will either have to find other facilities to use or disband.
Smith said the vote will be conducted through both mail-in ballots and in-person voting. He expected the ballots to be mailed in early June, in time for them to be returned.
The Ogden High pool closed in March because of a major leak that was causing a sinkhole beneath the pool. Corby said officials aren't yet sure what repairs are necessary or how much they'll cost.