Walbridge loses $19,871 on pool operations this summer

WALBRIDGE — The village is drowning in pool debt, racking up a $19,871 loss in summer operations.

The reason is a mix of higher operating costs and not increasing admission fees and memberships, said Mayor Ed Kolanko.

“We had to pay a little higher wages than expected to have staff this year, so that was one,” Kolanko said. “Utility costs were up, chemical costs were up.”

On the flip side, the cost for daily admission and season passes were not increased.

He and council will have to do a deep dive in how to maintain the pool and keep it open, yet break even or make a profit, Kolanko said.

The cost for passes and admission may have to be raised, he said.

People did use the pool this summer.

“I think our memberships were as high as they’ve ever been,” Kolanko said. “They’re also affordable … $35 for an individual, for the season — that’s pretty cheap.

“It’s a wonderful thing that we have in the village. But it’s a very difficult thing to maintain, run and do so economically.”

The village does not have a park levy, with pool operating costs coming out of the general fund.

“Costs are rising, revenues are not rising. And we had to do a couple repairs,” Kolanko said.

A chair lift repair this summer cost $1,200.

“When you have a couple situations like that, it adds up quick,” he said. “Again, it’s a conversation we have every year, and we’ve got to have it again.”

Also at the September meetings, council:

• Passed a resolution authorizing Kolanko to participate in an Ohio Public Works Commission grant, partnering with Lake Township, to improve Drouillard Road.

“It’s an odd road because of the jurisdiction, sometimes it falls in Walbridge and sometimes it falls in Lake Township,” Kolanko said. “It seemed like a good opportunity to work together to get some grant money to repair that road.”

It is a $320,000 project, he said, adding that the Walbridge cost would be 25% of the project. Lake Township would fund 25% and the grant would pay for 50%.

The township passed a similar resolution.

• Discussed power outages in the community. Kolanko said he would like more committee discussion, then a discussion with First Energy.

“There’s a lot of people out there who have the misunderstanding that we control the power grid in village of Walbridge,” said Councilman Larry Boday.

Kolanko added that there are also a lot of problems with the street lights.

“And First Energy is very reluctant … to come out and fix them,” he said. “They say they don’t have the equipment or they don’t have the bulbs.”

Kolanko said he believes that the company wants communities, such as Walbridge, to switch to LED lights.

“Which is fine, but I’m still trying to get a proposal because we have to pay for that. It’s not something that they actually do for free,” he said.

The cost would be $400 per light and the village has 140, Kolanko said.

The payback in electric savings would be 13 years, he said.

• Set trick or treat for Oct. 30 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The VFW will have treat stations in Veterans Park.

• Approved masonary work for two additional dugouts at Railway Park for $7,880, with the Lake Baseball Association paying half the cost.

• Hired Mike Pearce, who will work part time in the street department.

• Approved an ordinance banning borrow pits in the village. These are a hole pit or excavation that is dug for the purpose of removing gravel, clay and sand used in a construction project, such as when building an overpass or embankment.