Monett voters to decide fate of funding for proposed aquatic center

Election

When voters head to the polls in Monett next week, they’ll be asked to decide the fate of a quarter-cent sales tax.

“That would add twenty-five cents to a $100 purchase,” explained Monett City Admin. Dennis Pyle.

If passed, that money would be used to build a new aquatic center in Monett. Pyle says the current pool was built in 1964, and has a large leak.

“Deteriorated piping underneath the concrete deck has lead to a loss of about 16 million gallons of water a season.”

The city council looked at several options for the aquatic center, and settled on building a new facility adjacent to the Monett YMCA.  

“We thought if we could take advantage of the indoor pool that the Y already has, and the amenities that they have, that we could build an outdoor pool that compliments that,” Pyle added.

Pyle says the city already has a relationship with the Y, who has managed the city pool for the past 14 years.

“Our proposal would be, if we build this new facility and if voters approve it, we would continue that working relationship with the Y,” said Pyle.

He says the plan would be for the Y to provide a low-cost “day pass,” allowing non-Y members to take advantage of Y facilities without having to purchase a full membership.

“They would also make the indoor facility available for a fee,” Pyle explained.

Pyle says Monett currently has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the region.

“A quarter-cent sales tax increase is still going to put us about average,” added Pyle.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jeff Meredith says there are advantages to building a new pool, including keeping money in Monett by giving families another option.

“They’re already taking their kids out of the Monett region to go to other aquatic centers,” said Meredith.

Pyle says the tax is estimated to generate about $470,000 a year, and that it would sunset in ten years, unless it’s paid off early. He says estimates show the city could pay that tax off as quickly as eight years, allowing the tax to expire then.

However, if more people come to Monett to swim, Meredith says it could expire even quicker.  

“As we get more people coming to take advantage of the new aquatic center, that’s more people that are coming here, hitting our gas stations, going to our restaurants, going to Walmart, going to all the locally-owned businesses,” Meredith explained.  

Pyle says if the tax is passed by voters next Tuesday, the city would begin the design phase immediately, and hope to have the project out for bids sometime this summer. He says the hope is that construction would being late this year or early next year, with completion sometime next summer.

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