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Roy leaders to debate future of Roy Complex pool, possible tax hike

By Tim Vandenack - | Jun 20, 2022

ROBBY LLOYD, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Kay Swan, second from left, talks with her friends during early morning swim exercises at the Roy Recreation Complex in Roy on Jan. 23, 2015. Swan, who lives in Roy, has been coming to the pool for 46 years to swim and be with her friends.

ROY — With the pool at the Roy Recreation Complex needing a major fix and police and firefighters calling for additional staffing, leaders in Roy have some tough decisions to make.

The potential upshot could be the closure of the Roy Complex, a city-owned recreational facility built in 1974, and a $900,000 tax hike to cover the cost of hiring more police and firefighters. Decisions have yet to be made made, though, and the issues will be the focus of debate at a Roy City Council hearing set for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. on the proposed 2023 budget.

“I tell you, it’s complicated,” Mayor Bob Dandoy said. The meeting will be held inside Roy City Council chambers at 5051 S. 1900 West.

The pool issue, in particular, has generated a strong outpouring, he said, with most of those who have reached out to him expressing support for taking the steps needed to keep the Roy Complex open. The pool at the recreation center has been closed for about three weeks due to problems with the boiler used to heat water and could cost $450,000 or more to remedy.

“I’ve never seen so much interest,” Dandoy said.

Pat Medell of Roy said the pool is a particularly valuable resource for the city’s seniors, among others.

“The Complex is a fountain of youth. I see many, many elderly hobble into the building, barely making it in. After their exercise and visit with their friends, they come out with spring to their step. How can you put a price tag on our elderly?” she said in a message to the Standard-Examiner.

Decisions on a direction forward will likely be in the hands of City Council members, though final action may not be in the offing on Tuesday. Dandoy said the options on the pool issue would be allocating funding in the 2023 spending plan to cover the cost of replacing the problematic boiler and other related fixes, closing the pool but keeping the rest of the facility open or closing the facility altogether.

Right now, the weight room, gym, pickleball courts and other facilities are up and running, though not the pool. “It’s operating, but it’s operating at a reduced capacity,” Dandoy said.

He says the city has sufficient reserves to cover the cost of fixing the pool, a move he’d favor. The Roy Complex is located at 2150 W. 4700 South.

Some City Council members have proposed closing the Roy Complex and using proceeds that otherwise would go to its operation to help cover the cost of hiring more police and firefighters, as sought by the heads of the two departments. Dandoy is skeptical that scheme would generate the money needed — $900,000 a year — to hire an additional five police officers and three firefighters, the numbers now up for discussion.

Indeed, Dandoy suggests a property tax hike would be the most likely route to generate the funds needed for new hires, though details would have to be hammered out and any increase would be the focus of a special public hearing. Roy budgeted $3.93 million in property tax revenue in its 2021 budget, according to figures from the Utah State Tax Commission and $900,000 on top of that would represent a 22.9% hike.

If officials opt to go with a tax hike to hire more police and firefighters, it would be subject to a special public hearing, as required by state law, probable sometime in August.

Going forward, Dandoy thinks Roy leaders and the public need to consider the longer-term future of the Roy Complex and the possibility of building a few facility, potentially via a bond question put to voters.

As is, Medell said the sudden emergence of the Roy Complex issue came as a surprise to her. “As a citizen, I have not received a notification or even a hint this was going to happen. We haven’t had time to organize or do a fund-raiser to try to save the complex,” she said.

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