City pondering pool’s future

Published 10:40 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Brewton’s proposed budget includes a raise for city employees and projections for minimal growth in sales taxes — but no expenses are allocated for the city’s pool at Dogwood Hills.

But Mayor Ted Jennings said the city will not make a decision about whether to close the pool until sometime after January, when the city will likely form a committee to study the issue. The pool, which is open in the summer, will probably require some costly repairs.

“We’re going to have to make some decisions,” he said.

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Last year the city budgeted for $12,000 in repairs and upkeep for the pool and only $2,500 in revenue from admission.

The city could opt to focus on the splashpad instead of the pool, Jennings said.

The mayor presented the city’s budget — which the city finance committee has been working on for months — to council members Tuesday. The council is expected to vote on the proposal at its next meeting.

Jennings also reviewed the city’s projects from the past year, including the $1.4 million sewer project on Belleville Avenue, a new fuel farm at the Brewton Municipal Airport, and a joint project to improve drainage near T.R. Miller Mill.

Despite those projects — many of which were funded by grants and other sources — the city struggled with the economy as many others have.

“It was really a tough year for the city financially, and I think this year will be a hard year,” Jennings said.

The proposed budget includes a 2.5 percent raise for employees and a 2 percent increase in the city’s contribution to employee retirement funds by Jan. 1.

Overall, the increase in spending is $238,000, the bulk of which comes from salaries and benefit increases.

“We expect to accomplish a lot this year,” Jennings said of the new fiscal year.

“We will stay lean but accomplish our projects as funds are available.”