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City to keep pool open through Labor Day

by Dolores Hamilton
Iowa Park’s municipal swimming pool and spray park will remain open on weekends through Labor Day this year, as a result of action taken by the city council Monday night.
Normally the pool’s swim season ends on the Sunday before school starts because there are not enough lifeguards available after that.
According to City Manager Jerry Flemming, the pool manager has said there will be an adequate number of lifeguards and staff to open the pool on the weekends of Aug. 27 and 28, and Labor Day weekend Sept. 3, 4, and 5. “It’s more of an experiment than anything else to try and see what the public interest is in it, and maybe we can decide to do so again in the future years,” Flemming said.
During the budget workshop, Flemming went over the tax rate and the budget with the council. Last year’s tax rate was $0.76 per $100 valuation. The certified appraised property values have increased making $0.73 the effective tax rate to produce the same revenue. The cost of personnel, supplies and services have increased and several sources of revenue have gone down, making overall General Fund revenue projections nearly $110,000 less than last year.
Flemming said if the city is to provide the same level of service as in previous years, the property tax rate will need to be increased above the “effective tax rate,” at least to the current tax rate of $0.76. “If we keep the tax rate where it is now, that’s considered an increase by state standards, so the council would have to vote on that to raise the tax to $0.76,” he said.
Each of the department heads reported on the needs of their departments.
Council member Brad Wynn said he has received many complaints at his business about water rates, and asked if there is money out there to build a new water plant. After discussion by the council, it was determined that it would cost $70-million and be too expensive.
After further discussion about the new budget, council members indicated they would like to keep the tax rate at $0.76 where it has been for the last three years.
The next budget workshop is scheduled for next Monday night.