Posted 2 years ago

By Post Staff

city_hall       The Chadron city council has approved on a 4-2 vote a 5-year professional services agreement with Burbach Aquatics for a project to enclose the city swimming pool.

While the agreement covers the project from feasability and conceptual study…which Burbach will do for free…to construction, the city can decide at any point not to move forward. A referendum on moving to construction would be held after the initial study is done.

The 5-year provision means Burbach has the right of first refusal through February 2018 to continue if the council puts the pool project on hold, then decides later to resume work.

City Manager Wayne Anderson says Burbach expects to complete the feasibility study in about 2 months, coming to Chadron several times and meeting with the pool committee that recommended his hiring.

Speaking in favor of the agreement and the pool project were Sherie Blome…who read a letter of support from the Chadron Wellness Committee…and Barb McCartney…a teacher, water aerobics instructor, and coach of the Chadron Sharks swim team.

Both addressed the benefits of an enclosed pool to the community, and emphasized that the contract with Burbach committed the city to only the portion of the project that would determine what was actually being proposed for construction and put a firm price estimate on it.

Voting against the agreement were Mayor Karin Fischer and councilman Levi Grant. Fischer had expressed concerns about contract language for several weeks and said later in last night’s meeting that she just didn’t feel comfortable enough to move forward at this time.

Grant and the one member of the public to speak against the pool idea…retired physician Dr Robert Penor…both focused on the construction side of the proposal, questioning the possible cost, spending priorities for Chadron, and the timing with the upcoming vote on extending the city’s LB-840 sales tax.

Councilman Paris Fisher…no relation to the mayor…says he shares some of those concerns…saying “the timing stinks,” but strongly supports the agreement with Burbach as a way to find out if the city can afford the project.

During last night’s discussion, Fisher suggested amending the agreement to make it clear no fundraising activities for the pool project would begin until after the LB-840 vote.

City Manager Wayne Anderson…who agreed that “the timing stinks”…says Burbach never intended to start that phase until after he completes the phase-1 study, which should be finishing up about the time of the vote. The referendum election would likely be no earlier than late summer or early fall.