Posted by Larry (+158) 15 years ago
Does anyone know why our pool is not open yet. I think it is time to push for a new pool again, what do you think.
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
Call your Councilpersons, call the Mayor. Make some noise and ask questions. Anytime is a great time to talk about and plan a real pool for our fair town. However, until there is agreement on Oasis vs. Indoor Pool vs. Outdoor (seasonal) Pool vs. None, we won't get anywhere.

I favor a seasonal outdoor pool within the Oasis. It would be a relatively simple concept to design and build; it would maintain the character and function of the Oasis; it could have reliable, clean water- provided it's maintained. You could jump from the dock into either the chlorinated clear pool, or into the Oasis on the opposite side of the dock. The Oasis side could still have sandy beaches, a foot wash or shower would clean you up prior to getting into the pool.

That's my two cents.
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Posted by Bart Freese (+928) 15 years ago
Ironic . . . we have plenty of water this year.

So, what is going on? Just the facts, please. Has there been anything in the Star?

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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15384) 15 years ago
I was in the upper reaches of the Tongue River this afternoon. There is still some snow-pack. There was water everywhere. The monitoring wells I was checking averaged a foot more water than this date last year. My compensatory wetlands were actually wet for the first time in 5 years.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
I'm not sure what kind of structural issues might crop up when building a pool in the footprint of the oasis. It's old riverbed, isn't it?
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15384) 15 years ago
Maybe the reason there is no water in the pool is that it is not actually in the 100 year flood plain. After all there is a 1% chance...
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1672) 15 years ago
There is plenty of water in the pool.
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Posted by Bart Freese (+928) 15 years ago
Plenty of water in the pool, but no people??
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1672) 15 years ago
That's the dichotomy for once isn't it?
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Posted by Bart Freese (+928) 15 years ago
I assume this is a budget problem. Can't afford lifeguards, etc. Yes, No?
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Posted by Larry (+158) 15 years ago
I notice that the froggy pool is open for kids up to 7 years old. Spotted eagle is the only other option for swimming. I just hope that our city will check into a municipal pool like other communities. It will be a great draw for families that would like to move to miles city and would be a draw for industry to come to Miles City.
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Posted by Salli (Scanlan) Starkey (+237) 15 years ago
Could the pool use new life, like a water slide or something to "bring them in". It should be able to pay for itself
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Posted by extreme conditions (+30) 15 years ago
What,now the pool is not even open for swimming? I suppose our kids will be then forced to use spotted eagle even more. I bet it's really safe for swimming now that all those trees were so carefully placed in the lake. Can you imagine a child getting entangled in a christmas tree and drowning.
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Posted by Larry (+158) 15 years ago
What we need to do is all of us get a hold of our councilperson or the mayor and do nothing but just complain. Our kids in this community need something to do. If they have nothing to do, you know what happens. They get into TROUBLE. Lets shout people and do some writing to the powers.
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
Last year I had sailors and boats entangled in the mire of trees "sunk" in Spotted Eagle. I think they're a bad idea. I've read some articles that describe the ill effects of adding dead vegetation to a lake or pond. It is short term fish habitat, but as they decay they raise nitrogen levels, reduce oxygen, increase siltation, increase algae growth. Bad, Bad, Bad.
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Posted by Mayor (+139) 15 years ago
The Oasis is scheduled to open on the third weekend in June and I anticipate that we'll have enough funding in the upcoming budget cycle to keep the facility open until the third weekend in August. There will likely be fewer lifeguards at the Oasis who work an expanded shift so we can increase the hours of service. We also hope to offer swimming lessons but that'll depend upon whether or not an interested certified instructor can be found.

In addition to normal swimming hours, I'm hoping that we can offer several special pool events throughout the summer, including "Full Moon" swims, beach parties, a volleyball tournament, fitness swims for seniors, and at the end of the season, a Diving Dog Challenge for retrievers.

Salli's idea for the addition of a water slide is excellent. I need to follow up on a rumor that there's a water slide for sale in Glendive that might be a nice addition to the Oasis. It'd certainly draw more swimmers this summer.

For those concerned about water quality, the Oasis was treated with alum this summer at the suggestion of Al Kelm, our director of the Water/Wastewater Treatment plants. We use alum in our water plant in order to clarify our drinking water. The water from the Tongue River is injected with alum at the pump site and has produced a night and day positive difference in water quality at the Oasis! I'll have him drop off before-and-after water samples at City Hall to illustrate the difference in water clarity.

With the right combination of budget, staff, volunteers, users and available water it should be a late, but great, swimming season.
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Posted by Bart Freese (+928) 15 years ago
Now that's good news. I'm going to get my plastic bucket and shovel, ah, I mean my kids' stuff. The pool looked mighty inviting after filling up at the MidRivers community lunch.


Thanks for the info.
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
Joe,

I've got the name and address for the owner of the Glendive facility. I've been working on trying to get them for years, with little progress. He keeps telling me he's going to move them to Medora. If he has changed his mind, I'd suggest taking a hard look at the condition of the fiberglass flumes first. They've been outside with no maintenance for more than a decade, and when I looked at them a few years ago they needed new gel-coat. It can be done, but it is labor intensive and the material is expensive.

I'm glad to see such a full schedule and new ideas for using the Oasis. It's a great facility for Miles City.
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Posted by Mary De' (+61) 15 years ago
Okay so I take it the pool is not opening yet? I noticed the water is down. Are they going to open it at all? My kids are too old for the frog pool but to young to go to spotted eagle without supervision. Thanks for the info
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Posted by Larry (+158) 15 years ago
Again I say, It is time for a special Mill Levy for a new pool. Almost all of us in Miles City have interest in kids regardless of our ages. My 2 grandkids are too old for the froggy pond also and it really scares me when they go to spotted eagle. I think our city fathers should look into this so we can get something by next summer.
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Posted by Kate (+86) 15 years ago
I would be in support of a new pool of the indoor variety - maybe similar to the one in Baker...
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Posted by Joe Yates (+608) 15 years ago
If the town is ready to do it right...check out the Quad center at Cody. MC is half way there with the Centra. A center like Cody's when bring in people from all over Eastern MT and off I94. My family use to travel 50 miles to spend time at the Quad.

I just left a message for the Director there to call me back to send me info on how they did the $ and what all they offer. Cody has less road traffic than MC. We can do this!

Rob Schober
Director
Cody Rec Dept
307-587-0400
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Posted by Cindy (+388) 15 years ago
Yes, we can do this. But it seems that every time someone makes the move and starts to meet on this issue, it gets stopped somehow. Those that were on the committee for a new swimming pool in the past can shed light on what transpired then. But Glasgow, a town much smaller than Miles City, is in the process of putting money together for a new pool there. They already have a very nice cement pool but it is aging and they would like to replace it. They have already raised a bunch of money and continue to have fundraisers. Everyone is giving to this and behind the effort.

That's what Miles City needs - for everyone to be on board for something like this. Because it only takes one or two to discourage the group. Does Miles City need a cement pool? Yes, they do! An indoor pool would be really great.

Miles City needs to step up to the plate or quit whining about the Oasis. I can't lead the process but I'm willing to be one of the helpers(worker bees).
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
Where's the old hermit that picks cans out of the garbage for fifteen years and saves every penny to donate a community swim facility to the kids? I want someone to step up and save all the aluminum cans from the trash around town, haul them to be recycled, invest the dough in CD's or stocks, then cash out and donate a pool. What a nice story. That lady was heckled and poked fun at for years, now the whole nation can look to her for inspiration.

Calling all bag ladies, calling all bag ladies. Miles City needs you, we can't seem to commit to anything on our own!
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15384) 15 years ago
I thought this was interesting.

http://www.billingsgazett...pool_x.txt
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Posted by Larry (+158) 15 years ago
Check out the rec center in Dickenson ND. They sold memberships for the center and sold I think 10 times what they expected. It has a huge pool, waterslide, gym, everything under one roof.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3714) 15 years ago
Criminy, I would hope you could build a swimming pool for less than 9 million dollars. That would be $1000 from every man, woman, and child in MC, don't think that's gonna happen but I have to think it can be done for a whole lot less than that.
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Posted by Russell Bonine (+236) 15 years ago
The funding is from a 1% sales tax

Let me think... Sales tax- Mont..... Never mind I won't bring that up!



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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
You've nailed the problem pretty well Levi. I don't think there's any way you could build a decent indoor pool for less than 5 million (probably higher), and then the year-over-year maintenance losses are still a nightmare (even if someone handed you the 5 million to build)

The tax structure in Custer County is very closely tied to each invidudual. We don't have coal mines or oil reserves to speak of that generate the kind of tax revenue that subsidize indoor pools and other facilities in other communities around here.

Miles City is a nice town, but a town of limited means. I think the simplest way to get a decent pool built, is to KISS, and stick to building what we can (and will be able to) afford, a nice, modern outdoor pool. It seems like every time someone starts down the "new pool" road though, they get coaxed into "thinking big" and develop a massive project in their minds that really isn't economically feasible for Miles City.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12389) 15 years ago
There is considerable merit to an idea several folks have mentioned--build a filtered, concrete pool WITHIN the confines of the existing pool. Keep the sandy beach and the attractive lake and have the advantages of a concrete pool. By the way, you should see how the water looks now that they are adding alum. Check at the city hall for a look.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15384) 15 years ago
"The tax structure in Custer County is very closely tied to each invidudual. We don't have coal mines or oil reserves to speak of that generate the kind of tax revenue that subsidize indoor pools and other facilities in other communities around here."

Powell,WY doesn't have any coal or oil.

What prohibits a city sales tax? Does the city and or county ACTUALLY lack the legal ability to do this or is something that no one has ever tried and it is just urban legend that you can't have a local sales tax.
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1672) 15 years ago
Richard, ask what voters thought of the proposed local gas tax for benefit of county roads. I would like to think that voters would support a "pool tax", but when you have the property taxes that we have, a lot of voters are on automatic veto (for anyone out there, that is property taxes vs. property value; I don't want to start a conversation about how taxes in California are 5 times higher; so are the property values).
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
Richard, obviously Wyoming is an entirely different ball game.

This article is good for some background on why Miles City/Custer County has such a difficult time

http://www.montana.edu/ww...eb129.html

It's old information, but I doubt much has drastically changed for Custer County over the last decade.

In Fallon County, for example, resources were 90 percent of the tax base in 1987. Because of the large resource base, mills levied (Table 4) were only 135-less than half of the statewide average. By 1996 mill rates had increased by 139 percent which, when combined with a 23 percent decline in residential values, resulted in a 84 percent increase in the property taxes on a typical residence. Still, in 1996 the average mill rate in Fallon County was 322-well below the statewide average. Thus the dramatic increases in residential property taxes in the resource counties have been mostly a "catchingup" with the rest of the state.

Even with this gap closing, dramatic differences in property tax rates remain. Custer County has the highest average rate (487 mills) while Rosebud has the lowest (179). This means that a typical residence in Custer County is assessed more than two and a half times as much in property taxes as a residence of equal value in Rosebud County. Some of this difference represents the additional or higher cost services (e.g. a paid fire department) provided in the urbanized areas of Custer County but most of the difference arises because Rosebud County obtains a great deal of revenue from the Colstrip power plants and thus is able to levy relatively low mill rates.


As the article states, it's not really that our government spends too much compared to other counties around the state, we just have a smaller tax base than almost anyone. So building and supporting a pool here costs each taxpayer considerably more than it does in say Rosebud or Fallon counties.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
I think this was the last word on a "local option" sales tax.

http://www.billingsgazett...ilocal.txt

I think a local gas tax would actually have a better shot passing if it were tied to a clearly-defined local improvement like a pool. Having it passed under a generic promise of "better roads" or other intangibles. I think people assume they probably wouldn't notice much of a difference in that approach.

Another theory I have is kinda cynical, but I'd say if you were going to try a local tax for something like a pool, I'd say avoid general elections. I'd like to see it tested anyway. I think it might be best to get a major issue like this on a primary ballot or whatever, so you can get your supporters out to vote, but you don't have to deal with the grumpiness of the general electorate.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15384) 15 years ago
Is the use of a city or county sales tax statuatorially prohibited in MT?
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Posted by Big Dave (+437) 15 years ago
I believe the answer is yes. If local governments could institute a sales tax, someone would have done it. Method of taxation is watched closely by the legislature - and they ain't gonna touch a sales tax.

I think the answer to building a pool is to have a group or individual to begin building consensus in the community and use some well established community development principles. It takes a long time, but the results are generally more palatable to the majority of the community. There are 100 ways to do it wrong and only a couple to do it correctly.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
The consensus isn't hard to get to, Dave. People want an all-indoor olympic-sized aquatic center/water park, community center, gym, tennis courts, day spa, sauna, weight room, batting cages with maybe a driving range if there's some money left.

And they want it to cost 5 bucks.
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1672) 15 years ago
In any pool meeting I've ever been a part of, that is exactly the consensus.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12389) 15 years ago
Rick, you forgot the hot tub and surround sound movie theater and the dancing girls. . .
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Posted by Jon Bonine (+160) 15 years ago
The difference between Powell and Miles City...

"John Wetzel, a member of the City Council and the pool committee, said swim meets take much longer at six-lane pools and that Powell would not be able to attract larger meets without eight lanes.

"I'd really like to find a way to have an eight-lane pool, just from the standpoint of the economic development that those swim meets would bring," said Wetzel, who was not at the meeting but spoke afterward by telephone."


The community of Powell is smaller than Miles City, has a two-year college and is agriculturally based. But they are forward thinking. Adding another two lanes for a competition pool so that they can increase usage and expand economic development? That's just crazy!
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Posted by Joe Yates (+608) 15 years ago
Richard..."Powell doesn't have oil..."

That and farming is all that Powell has, plus the college. Oil built the first pool. Money from oil field work will continue to assist Powell, but the money coming into that area is over flow from Cody.

The very best outside pool will never compete with any inside pool. People now have pool parties at our local motels. People drive to Forsyth (winter) to swim in their indoor pool.

The Cody Quad Center cost about $11,000,000. Half of that building we already have in the Centra.

Here is what the Quad has: Gymnasiums that are 3 connected with no bleachers....about the same size as the Centra when the bleachers are pushed up. They have a running track above and around the gymn. We can do without the track.
Locker rooms, which we already have.
Equipment area, which we already have.
Reception area and offices, which we already have.

What they do have is a multi-purpose meeting room...don't we already have meetings over at the college now?
They have a kitchen...isn't there a cafeteria at the college that could be used?
They have a daycare area made just for the wee ones...don't we have enough child care places in MC? If not there is a business for someone to get going on.

They have racquetball courts....only two!!!!!!

They have pools: 8 lane x 25 yard lap pool including including diving area, 3500 sq foot leisure pool with 0 to 3.5 foot depth, water slide, and water activity equipment and hot tub, and a therapy pool with wheel chair entry.

In the 60's and 70', almost all WY schools had pools bought with oil money. Now they don't get that money like they use to. Cody Quad wasn't built with direct oil money and any new pool in WY is not! Sure alot of people have incomes from oil, but they wanted the Quad and they did what ever it took to get it and now familes come from all over the Big Horn Basin and some from MT to use it. It draws an income, plus adds money to each business as those families will shop at Cody while they are there...or , the reverse.

We, MC, have I93 right out the door. If we advertise the Centra with all the above, not only will Eastern MT communties come, but the interstate travelers will, too.

If the Cody Quad cost about $11,000,000 and we already have half the Quad now, shouldn't the cost be about half for an add on to the Centra?
The builder for the Quad was Associated Builders of Bismark and the pool sub-contractor was Associated Pools out of Bismark.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12389) 15 years ago
Um, the Forsyth pool has been closed in the winter lately. They can't afford to heat it.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
It draws an income, plus adds money to each business as those families will shop at Cody while they are there...or , the reverse.

I'm pretty sure that's dead wrong. I could just about guarantee you the Cody pool is heavily subsidized by local government.

When asking around, we never found an indoor pool that even came close to breaking even. It just doesn't happen. I'm sure Wyoming's tax structure makes it pretty easy for Cody subsidize stuff like this. Most of their income comes from sales taxes, and in a city who's primary industry is tourism (from Yellowstone) that gives the local government alot more money to spend.

Maybe someday, if we ever get a sales tax, Custer County could think about such a thing. But for now, we're stuck with property taxes, which is tough because Custer County's property tax base is at the bottom of the ladder. I guess we can cross our fingers and wait in hope that everything changes so we can someday afford our dream pool. But they've been talking sales tax in Montana for decades. How long should we wait?

Even Billings looked at an indoor pool and said, "no thanks, can't afford it" And that's Billings.
http://www.billingsgazett...5-pool.inc

Cody, Pierre and Rapid City already spend a lot of money every year to maintain their swimming pools, and Casper and Missoula, which haven't begun construction on their new pools, expect to have to subsidize them indefinitely.

Billings, like Kalispell, expects to turn a profit on its new pool. Based partly on the money-making history of Rose Park Pool, Billings city officials project that the Skyview Ridge Aquatic Center planned for the Heights will make at least $20,000 a year more than it costs to operate and maintain. That estimate, according to Recreation Division Supervisor Joe Fedin, is "real conservative."

Lee Ann Logan, who studied the aquatic center proposal for the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Committee, said she used to believe that only an indoor, year-round pool was worth the investment of millions of dollars of public funds. After going through the aquatic study prepared for the city two years ago, and looking at what other communities in the region are doing, she said, it is clear that indoor pools cost a lot more to operate than outdoor pools and inevitably require subsidies.


We're spinning our wheels on the indoor pool thing. It's time to get over it and build the nice outdoor pool we can afford.
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Posted by Joe Yates (+608) 15 years ago
Rick, I never said the Quad paid for it's. I am sure it is gets money from local gov. The people are the local goverment and they see the pull it has and the money it brings in and were willing to sacrifice. They did it! They have it! We don't!

Why expand something that isn't working...right now there are 10 times the people and swimmers at Spotted Eagle then at the Oasis. So by yours and others logic, let's expand Spotted Eagle!
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
The majority of parents in this town simply won't send their kids to swim in either Spotted Eagle or the Oasis. So by and large, kids in this town just aren't swimming. It's sad when you consider that for not much more money than we already spend on the Oasis, we could run a nice outdoor (concrete) pool/waterslide. It would be packed with kids every weekend (aka kids outnumbering lifeguards) and would be something exciting for kids to do in the summer.

I'm guessing more kids swim at Spotted Eagle now because from first glance, it doesn't look any worse than the Oasis, there's no fees, and they don't have to worry about any lifeguards bugging them. Probably not a positive thing, but that's my best guess.
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Posted by Joe Yates (+608) 15 years ago
Amen, Rick, but you also sound like there is no sense pursuing an indoor pool.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
It's not popular to say, but unless we find someone willing to eat a few hundred thousand dollars each and every year, that's what I'm saying, it's pointless.

The whole process is difficult, but the most difficult part of the process is getting someone to commit to OWNING the thing. At the end of the process, someone has to be accountable to keep it operating, long after the initial fundraisers and advocates have tired out.

Once all the enthusiasm fades, it's the entity that owns the pool that will be left holding the bag. It's been pretty clear to me that there's not currently anyone in Miles City who's willing to OWN that indoor-pool albatross. Planning towards an end that isn't acceptable to those who'd end up accountable for it doesn't seem like an effective use of anyone's time.
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Posted by Chipmunk Ninja (+72) 15 years ago
Will the pool still be treated with copper sulfate and chlorine? or just Alum?
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12389) 15 years ago
All three.

My nieces swim at the Oasis for the beach, the cleanliness compared to Spotted Eagle and the lifeguards. Did I mention the beach. Ah, that lovely beach.
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Posted by Eric Brandt (+846) 15 years ago
"I'm pretty sure that's dead wrong. I could just about guarantee you the Cody pool is heavily subsidized by local government."

So instead of actually knowing, you conject pseudo-facts with "pretty sure" and "just about guarantee". Would you be willing to research that for us and actually guarantee your comment?

Furthermore, I would ask the question: "Is a subsidized service acceptable?"

Pure capitalism would suggest that government has no business in pools. To support this claim, recently regarding Belgium and Fiber services, you pointed out that neighbors not using fiber services might not appreciate having to pay for it. Should we just let Capitalism provide this service? After all, if people really want it, then they will make money at it, and if they don't then the pool will simply close. Perfect scenario.

BUT THEN...

"Maybe someday, if we ever get a sales tax, Custer County could think about such a thing. But for now, we're stuck with property taxes, which is tough because Custer County's property tax base is at the bottom of the ladder. I guess we can cross our fingers and wait in hope that everything changes so we can someday afford our dream pool. But they've been talking sales tax in Montana for decades. How long should we wait?"

So, are you supporting bigger taxes? Are you suggesting that Capitalism has failed society in this case? Is your answer simply that only a tax could possibly support this service? Am I to understand you that a nice year-round indoor pool is not in our future because to have one we would have to succumb to a socialistic base? Am I understanding that we have to settle for "mediocre" because we [...can't afford our dream pool].

Are you for real? We are very nearly the only community in Eastern Montana that doesn't have a pool - indoor or outdoor. Are Terry and Forsyth standing on more footings than we are? Stockman Bank alone has some of the largest footings in the entire region - so don't tell me there isn't money here.

I think the reason this "dream pool" will never happen, is not that we can't afford it, but that we refuse to afford it. We refuse to be "gray" on the matter. It has to be black or white, total failure or total success. And it would seem to me, that we have simply accepted BLACK as the only option. Isn't that lovely?

Let me conject: "I'm pretty sure that I can just about guarantee you that there is a heavily likely chance that there is a working [gray] solution out there that most of us could live with."
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
Eric,

Are YOU for real? It is imperative that the community looks real hard at the long term O&M costs of any type of swimming facility we might be considering. Not just by calling around casually and asking the neighboring Rec Department director, but by actually looking at various City/Department budgets and finding what the true expenses are over the life of the facility.

My two cents- having been directly involved with most of the indoor facilities around here that are owned by the public, I can say they are horribly expensive and little used in the winter. If you want to talk Capitalism, let's go with the outdoor seasonal pool, and leave the indoor winter pools to the local motels. Yes, you can swim indoors all year in Miles City for a nominal (Capitalist) fee. It's a win-win situation as indoor use drops off in the summer when motel use peaks, and indoor use picks up in the winter when motel use bottoms out.

As for connecting it to the Centra? MCC want nothing to do with the O&M costs unless they get a guaranteed tax base or assistance from the City/County/Health Care/etc. that may share in the use of the place. An MCC swim team, not likely.

One more thing, I do not believe that parks should be run solely with user fees. The entire public benefits from parks and recreation facilities and programs, and it is in the best interest of the entire public to support them. That is why the O&M costs need to be considered so seriously, the public is not going to support too great a burden. Why, we'd end up with a tea party at the Oasis!
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Posted by J. Dyba (+1340) 15 years ago
Eric,

I think you are not taking into account that these other communities didn't almost go Bankrupt. They were not forced to hire an independent consultant for thousands of dollars to explain to them that "Ya gotta spend less money then ya make. Doobity dooo"

I think MC suffers from the dilemna that anyone smart enough to run your budget correctly is also smart enough to know they don't want that job.

As a casual outside observer, it appears MC finally has someone with half a brain in the Mayors office (I actually think you have a whole brain Joe but that wouldn't have sounded as cheeky...) overseeing the checkbook.

MC is going to need 10-15 YEARS of someone like this before it can float the costs of a public facility as expensive as an indoor pool.


>all of the above conjectures could be 100% incorrect<
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
FYI- Colstrip is planning to spend $115-125k on re-lining their outdoor pool this in the next year. There is no such thing as a cheap pool when it comes to O&M.
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Posted by Tony Ackerman (+191) 15 years ago
Just a FWIW,

Talk the folks who have a proposal for such an operation on the board. They'll tell you the cost figures if you want to see what it will take to get an indoor pool here in Miles City and keep it running. It's worth your time to talk to them.

Forsyth & Colstrip built their pools during the construction boom when money and corporate gifts (from Montana Power & Peabody) to communities were plentiful and generous. Colstrip's pool continues to survive. Forsyth's is a huge drain on the town's budget and it is the source of great and ongoing debate on how to make the thing pay a larger portion of its way in order to avoid shutting it down completely. The heating bills are staggering.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
"So instead of actually knowing, you conject pseudo-facts with "pretty sure" and "just about guarantee". Would you be willing to research that for us and actually guarantee your comment?"

I'd think the burden of proof would be on the guy saying we can afford the multimillion dollar indoor rec center, not the guy saying we can't. There'll always be another indoor pool you can point to and say, "hey, maybe that one breaks even, why don't you go check it out" It's a wild goose chase. I've yet to see one that breaks even. And there's alot of very experienced people who will tell you the same thing. I'll just say I've seen enough numbers and talked to enough of those experienced people to know that (at least outside major urban areas) indoor swimming pools are big-time money losers. When you've got any example otherwise, I'll be happy to take a look.

I hate to get into political hypotheticals on the whole socialization thing, but your analogy is flawed. If we were proposing funding a hot tub in every house, you might have a point. The kind of parks and/or pool project we're talking about would be more in-line with say putting a computer lab in a public library for community use. Public parks and pools certainly don't correspond with your "government as your monopoly telecom provider" model.

Also, in comparison to those advocating for indoor, I'm not necessarily advocating for "bigger." I'm the guy saying that we might be able to take the money we already spend and do a lot better with it. I realize that Miles City is behind the times pool-wise, and I'd like to see it addressed. But Miles City doesn't currently have the means for an indoor pool.

If you don't have a car to get to work, but you don't have alot of money, what do you do? Do you go to the Mercedes dealer just to dream about your favorite car, or do you go to the local used car lot and pick out the nicest car you can afford?

"I think the reason this "dream pool" will never happen, is not that we can't afford it, but that we refuse to afford it. We refuse to be "gray" on the matter. It has to be black or white, total failure or total success. And it would seem to me, that we have simply accepted BLACK as the only option. Isn't that lovely?"

What we have is Black. What you're proposing is White. What I'm proposing is gray. Custer County residents pay some of the highest taxes in the state. They can't afford something even Billings can't afford. Its time to be sensible.

Tony, the problem we got into with Colstrip/Baker/Hardin was the fact that there was no real way to determine their real standalone operating costs. Their utilities are tied directly to the schools that house them, so there's not a good way to know the full utility cost of the pools themselves. These pools look cheaper to run than they are because the actual utility costs are hidden in the full schools' utility budgets. This is why Forsyth would be a more accurate model for comparison's sake, when considering a standalone indoor pool.
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Posted by Joe Yates (+608) 15 years ago
Chad says, "MCC wants nothing to do with..."

I agree under Hammon, MCC didn't want anything to with unless the town subsidied the whole sha-bang, but there is a new Prez in town and it would be interesting to know her opinion not any per the position she is in but from where she has came from.

Where did the extra million come from for MCC new budget? I am for MCC but take a look at the (I belive this the correct figure)4.5 million budget for under 500 students...that is about $9000 per student. (I don't believe any of them are paying that.)

So 9000 people in MC at $5 per month x 12 months = $540,000 in a mill levy form!!!!!?????, plus others using the facility would bring that $ amount up.

The Cody Quad has over 185,000 visits annually.

MCC is already paying half the cost now...

I am postive that someone will tell be were I am wrong...
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
You lost me on all the MCC stuff. But an indoor pool would cost far more than the Centra to operate.

Miles City has around 8,500 residents (of all ages), but regardless, you can't tax them all "in a mill-levy form" since you can only tax property, not people. Besides, even if you could tax all residents in that fashion, my 4 year old, 2 year old, and 8 month old kids might have difficulty finding the money.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15384) 15 years ago
I know this is a side-bar, but it pains me greatly to observe the economic "despair" in MC especially in light of the fact we learned this week that Gillette's property tax base grew to 4.5 billion dollars this fiscal year. If we were a country Campbell County would be one of the top 10 wealthiest economies on the planet.

Gillette was once a town of 8500 who has nearly the same natural resources as Miles City.

Perhaps after I start the Sundial Coal Co. in the Pine Hills I will donate a pool to MC.
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
I think I'd rather bet on the little old hermit gathering cans out of the dumpster, than the Sundial Coal Co.
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Posted by Joe Yates (+608) 15 years ago
I friend recently said something along the line that it is easier to be negative and how things can't or wouldn't work, then to try and to make things work.

Thru this swimming pool forum, I have brought up many times how Cody has done it. I have given numbers but the reality is, that everyone does want an inside pool, but they do not want to pay for it. It appears to be the epitome of Miles City.

Not one person has asked me for any info that Cody has and that Rob Schoeber, the director of the Quad, has sent me. No one believes it can be done here.

Please watch, Field of Dreams, Remember the Titans,etc. A pool can happen....or maybe not. You negs win.

Kudo to Amanda Askins and friends, when the Oasis wasn't going to open this year, they made it happen. A High School group believed and made it happen.
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
Joe,

You may believe that we all want an indoor pool and the decision not to want one is strictly financial, but I want nothing to do with an indoor pool. Not only for financial reasons, but my experience with even the best and nicest indoor pools has made me realize they are miserable in the Summer (compared to an outdoor facility) and they are typically little used in the Winter. They just do not get the amount of use many people seem to think they do.

I have used indoor and outdoor pools from the coast of California to the eastern seaboard. An indoor pool is fine for a motel with harsh winters, but if they could slide that pool in and out for the season they'd be much happier. I have been to pools with retractable roofs, operable walls, and even those inside glass boxes- Olympic sized ones; they don't compare to an outdoor experience. And yes, they cost an arm and a leg to maintain and operate.

My two cents for the night.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10266) 15 years ago
>>If we were a country Campbell County would be one of the top 10 wealthiest economies on the planet.

Which planet?

Sorry about that Richard. But, having thought about this today, I'm just having problems believing that Campbell County is wealthier than India, the Russian Federation or Brazil.

To make the top 10 in world economies, Campbell County would need a GDP (nominal) in the three-quarters to one trillion dollar range.

In terms of the GDP (PPP) I'm sure it ranks high - but when you look at GDP (PPP) you see that it's not always an accurate yardstick to go with.


http://en.wikipedia.org/w..._(nominal)
http://en.wikipedia.org/w...per_capita
http://siteresources.worl...es/GDP.pdf
http://www.imf.org/extern....cfm?G=110
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
Joe, at one time I thought that with enough positive planning and determination, Miles City could build an indoor pool.

Then I started checking it out, and talking to people. I had people from various local government entities confirm that they'd have a difficult time committing to an indoor pool.

I also started to see some research, and had a number of experienced people confirm that indoor pools are incredibly expensive, and as Chad says, very underutilized in the winter.

Everyone says they'll use an indoor pool year-round, but ask people in the business, and they'll tell you that it just doesn't happen. Sure, there'll be a few hardcore swimmers that'll be there year-round. But when those numbers get low, it becomes a little hard to justify, doesn't it?

Even if you could scrape together the finances... a tall order in Miles City, you're still subsidizing hundreds of thousands of dollars every year basically for the benefit of a few kids who really want to swim consistently year-round. All to the detriment of taxpayers, and/or other programs and services the city could be offering to a wider audience instead.

I'd like to see Miles City's pool situation improved. But I'd hate to see it done to the detriment of all other services.

An outdoor pool would benefit the largest group of kids at a cost we won't regret in the long run.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
I wondered the same thing, Hal. I wondered whether it was maybe a property value per capita type measure. That was the only measure I could think of that would get them anywhere near what Richard discussed.

There's alot of money in the ground down there, obviously, and a relatively sparse population. So I'm guessing maybe that's what it is. Obviously, GDP wise, there's no way.

It reminds me of a map I saw a while back though, that put the United States' economic power in perspective. I'll try to find it again.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10266) 15 years ago
Rick, thanks for the link.

That's a very interesting map.

So last winter I moved from Tunisia to Belarus - I've always had a knack for such things
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr (+15384) 15 years ago
Okay... so there is some metric you can provide that proves what I said isn't "true". The MAIN point I was trying to make in a kind and gentle way (rather than the "we are richer than you are" mentality) was that Campbell county and Custer County were at one time both the same size communities blessed with nearly the same natural resources. Campbell County is developing their resources and has grown it into a huge taxable value (4.5Billion).

For what it is worth we have a rec center with 2 pools, one indoor, one outdoor with a huge slide and an indoor aquatic center associated with school district. Swimming is a required part of K-8 PE here. There are plans in the works to build a new rec center.

Again, it pains me greatly to see the economic despair in MC when you are blessed with so much potential, if you will simply develop it. I have suggested several ways in this thread to change the economics and the response I recieve is all about why "it won't work". (Doing what you have always done and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity. ) It seems to me if you are going to maintain and improve your infrastructure changes to the method of taxation and the quantity of property that is taxable are a necessity. I would be interested in moving back to MC if I could enjoy the same economic benefits I have just 160 miles to the south.

Personally, I think that an outdoor concrete pool with filtered water that is somehow part of the existing pool (oasis) is what would serve the MC community best. The question is whether under your current economic situation you can afford even that. In terms of priority, getting drinking water to peoples houses is probably more important than water in which one can swim.
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Posted by Pat Hart-Brown (+21) 15 years ago
the big difference between MC and most towns this size is they don't have a million dollar fire dept.
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Posted by barney (+221) 15 years ago
Someone finally hit the nail on the head. Maybe get the fire department involved with the pool, they can probally get it funded they get everything else they want.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
Not sure exactly what other towns spend, but a common misconception around here is that other towns our size have "volunteer" fire departments.

This is usually backed up by comparing Sidney or Glendive or some other significantly smaller town.

Miles City would fall in the common 5,000-10,000 people category. Sidney and Glendive are both too small to fall in the same category.

I think you'd find that in our larger category, most towns have full-time paid fire departments. There aren't very many Montana towns in this category, but it looks to me like Havre, Anaconda, Lewistown, Laurel, and Livingston all have full-time paid fire/emt depts.

I couldn't really find information on Belgrade. It might be volunteer. I don't know either way.
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Posted by Bob L. (+5096) 15 years ago
Rick:

Dickinson, ND.

Bigger than Miles City.

Volunteer fire department.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12389) 15 years ago
AND. . .this is why a new pool never gets built. The topic wanders off into finger-pointing and no one can agree on what we need and/or can afford and it's a good thing I LIKE the current city swimming lake. Nice clean water, too.
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
Unshun

Let's compare apples to apples

http://www.dickinsonambul.../Staff.asp

Reshun
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Posted by David Schott (+18250) 15 years ago
With the criticism it takes I'm surprised anyone is willing to work for the MCFD.

Richard, maybe you can tell us about how Gillette has a full time paid fire department with not a single truck more than 5 years old, all the equipment they could possibly require, a defibrillator posted on every street corner, and every ambulance person trained as a paramedic...

But, when the coal money has come and gone Gillette will still be located on the God-forsaken plains of eastern Wyoming where water is scarce and a calm, windless day even scarcer. But hopefully the government is investing its money wisely so it can still maintain the infrastructure for the 4000 people who will still want to live there.

- Dave
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Posted by Bob L. (+5096) 15 years ago
Unshun

Let's compare apples to apples

http://www.dickinsonambulance.com/Staff.asp

Reshun

----------------

Moron

Yeah, EMTs are really expensive

Still a moron
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
I believe $1 million was the threshold.

I'd say the compensation for just the EMT staff listed there has to be nearly a million. More than 800k anyway. And that doesn't count any of the many other expenses for EMT or Fire Dept service.
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Posted by Cory Cutting (+1274) 15 years ago
Employee list shows:

Barret Wicklund, Owner/President, EMT-Intermediate, serving since July 1981

That would indicate to me that this is a private ambulance service such as AMR. So guess that doesn't really count.

And Laurel has a volunteer fire department.
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1672) 15 years ago
Here is a fairly recent report with information in this regard:

http://dnrc.mt.gov/forest...urvey2.pdf
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4453) 15 years ago
Cory, I think it does count for two reasons.

One, no private ambulance service has any interest in Miles City, at least that I'm aware of.

And two, from what I've been told, (maybe Joe could confirm or deny) the million + figure that's regulary tossed around regarding our FD doesn't actually take into account the revenue they generate via their EMT (ambulance) services.
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
How about that pool in Glendive? That's some pool. We've always had great Summer fun there.
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Posted by Shannon Lamon (+29) 15 years ago
A public swimming pool is one of the most basic resources in a community. I live in Central City, NE population 2,000. One of the major topics in city politics here is building a new pool. The pool we have now is clean, well kept and well used throughout the summer; however, the pump/motor is going bad and other problems that come with age. The only problem the city is having is deciding were to build it. It will be a little bigger, have zero entry for safety and maybe have a splash pad for the younger children. What is so difficult about this concept. I know that no matter what, money will be an issue, but keeping the plan simple will make the goal of a new pool more attainable. Our community fitness center has an indoor pool and my children and I only used it twice this winter. The outdoor pool is right across the street from our house and we are there at least three times a week. The indoor pool is smelly and hot/humid. If I still lived in Miles City I would definitely be in favor of an outdoor pool that is clean, simple and enjoyable with lots of happy kids!!!! I hope some down to earth, realistic minds come together in Miles City and make this happen.
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Posted by barney (+221) 15 years ago
Why can't we have paid fire volunteers pay them for their training and when they are called to a fire. Then we could staff an ambulance crew and when one ambulance is called out call in another crew to cover in case another call came in. Also aren't all of the MCPD emt trained so they can respond if needed. Primarily that is what the MCFD is respond to ambulance calls then they would still generate this revenue.
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Posted by Chad (+1765) 15 years ago
Back to the pool, off of the Fire Department.... Colstrip is removing their kiddie pond with the seal fountains. In their place will be a splash pad with fountains and water emitters. It's safer and easier to maintain with little kids in diapers.
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