Roy leaders earmark $500K for pool, propose tax hike to hire police, firefighters
ROY — For around two hours Tuesday night, Roy residents spoke out, largely touting the import of the swimming pool at the Roy Recreation Complex, now closed because of boiler problems.
Michael Ghan, among the many speakers, noted the role of the facility in giving youth a place to go and the importance of the pool in giving his wife, among others, a place where she can swim, soothing her sore bones and muscles. “I like the fact that she comes home and she says, ‘I wasn’t in pain for 50 minutes,'” he said.
The future of the facility has been a focus of debate given the considerable cost of fixing the pool, but after Tuesday’s outpouring, the Roy City Council added $500,000 to the tentative 2023 budget to help cover the cost of getting it back in working order. Separately, the council also proposed a property tax hike of up to 15% for 2023 — which would generate around $600,000 — to cover the cost of hiring more police and firefighters.
The swimming pool issue generated the most discussion, though.
Alan Hall, a Roy resident and chairman of the Ogden Pioneer Days Foundation, addressed the body at Tuesday’s packed meeting. He said he’d be willing to aid in fundraising to secure contributions from the public to aid with the fixes. Costs to address all the varied issues with the pool could cost up to $1 million, maybe more, said Roy City Councilperson Joe Paul.
“We as a family will step forward to participate with the city to help contribute and raise money as needed as you come forward with the plan,” Hall said. “That complex is a treasure, it’s a jewel here and we thank you for keeping it going and we’ll find the resources to keep it going for years to come.”
The pool at the Roy Complex has been closed since late May because of the boiler and other issues and the cost of repairs had prompted talk among city officials of closing the facility. “I see a lot of passion,” said Paul, alluding to the public outpouring of support for the pool, “but I also see a lot of dollars invested with this.”
The problems with the pool and the cost of fixing them have to be more precisely pinpointed and a definitive plan of action still hasn’t been formulated. Councilperson Randy Scadden proposed involving the Weber School District, which owns the land where the Roy Recreation Complex sits at 2150 W. 4700 South, adjacent to Roy High School, in operating the facility.
Likewise, the 2023 spending plan — which called for $23.18 million in spending before the changes proposed Tuesday — still has to be formally approved. Tuesday’s action, though, which followed more than two hours of public comment, represents a commitment to maintain the facility. The $500,000 for the pool would come from city reserves.
As for the proposed property tax hike, the full 15% increase, if approved, would generate around $600,000, according to city officials. The budget, including the proposed tax hike, will be the focus of an Aug. 16 public hearing, when the City Council will likely take final action on next year’s spending plan.
Reps from the Roy Fire Department want to hire three more firefighters while the Roy Police Department wants to add five more police officers, which prompted the proposed tax hike. The $600,000 increase, though, would only likely cover the cost of hiring five or six new employees, said Mayor Bob Dandoy. At the same time, the City Council could still opt to reduce the tax hike or eliminate it altogether.
The 15% increase, if ultimately approved, would boost property tax collections from around $3.93 million for 2022 to around $4.6 million. City officials estimate the hike would increase the property taxes on the median-valued home by $48.35 per year.
The 2023 budget proposal also includes $190,000 to hire a new economic development director in Roy, a point of contention for some on the City Council.