Cartersville Parks and Recreation Director Greg Anderson said, during the Thursday night meeting, the slide was important enough to justify going over budget on the improvement project. Anderson had a total budget of $1,025,000 for the improvements, which was approximately $64,000 less than needed to cover the slide. Council member Kari Hodge was the first to question if the slide was a necessary expense.
Anderson believed it was. He cited a growing trend of new and refurbished pools emphasizing water fountains, slides and other water attractions over size.
An alternative was to stub-in the necessary plumbing for a slide so one could be installed at a later date. The cost for the stubbing was included in the $975,049 budget for the improvements submitted to the council.
Council member Jayce Stepp believed the council should approve the purchase, as he thought it would not be any cheaper at a later date.
“I’m shocked at how expensive these things are and I’m sure there’s a reason why it is that [expensive]. But, I mean, if you take it and you piece it out and look at it you say, ‘Oh, good lord, you paid $115,000 for a slide.’ But you know, things cost money and you can see, obviously, what it’s going to cost us,” he said. “In my opinion I’d rather have it done and done right and nice than to try and piece it together at a later date.”
Stepp later pointed out if the slide had been included in the budget in the first place the council would not be having such an in-depth discussion about the cost. He believed the whole project would have been approved with no objection.
Council member Lori Pruitt and Stepp asked if there were other budgeted projects Anderson had planned that could be shorted the $114,000 amount. Hodge objected to such an idea.
“But do we want to short other projects for a slide? That’s my problem,” she said.
Stepp moved to have the improvements and the slide approved, with Pruitt seconding the motion, but it was defeated when Hodge, Louis Tonsmeire and Dianne Tate voted against it.
The final package, approved unanimously, was the $975,049 project with the stubbed slide plumbing. Anderson said the improvement project would include, among other items, the demolition and replacement of the existing bathhouse, replacing the main drains, creating a zero-entry area to the pool, adding water fountains and reducing the depth on the deepest end of the pool.
Funds for the project will come from the 2014 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. Dockery Group, LLC will serve as the designer and builder.
The council also approved a resolution to join Electric Cities of Georgia, a nonprofit organization of 52 cities joined together to provide electric services similar to larger, investor-owned utilities.
“One of the key things about what ECG can provide us is services for our customers,” said Cartersville Electric System Director David Meyers. “Whether [we] need engineers to go into our local industrial plants to give money saving advice or recommendations on changing out motors or power quality or changing processes to save energy, all of that type of stuff is done through services with Electric Cities.”
Meyers added it was a much cheaper alternative to the city hiring a specialist it might rarely use. All ECG specialists, he said, are employees of the organization and the member cities have access to them.
Other council business included:
• Re-adopting the official and updated zoning map of Cartersville.
• Approving a text amendment application by the city to amend sections of the city’s zoning ordinance. Planning and Development Director Randy Mannino said the amendments were a “year-end cleanup.”
• Approving an annual update of the capital improvements element in accordance with impact fee requirements.
• Approving a tax anticipation note for the new Public Safety Headquarters and Cartersville Fire Department Station 4 in the total sum of $4,300,000.
• Approving a rental agreement addendum with Montessori School to allow speech therapists to operate in the building.
• Approving the purchase of three copy machines for the Cartersville Police Department, CFD and Downtown Development Authority in the total sum of $21,687.
• Approving the purchase of parking lot lighting for the new Steak ‘n Shake.
The Cartersville City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. for a work session and 7 p.m. for a regular meeting.