August 26, 2014
Residents in Woodland Park will decide in November whether the city will pay for a community pool.
The City Council voted unanimously Thursday to include a question in the Nov. 4 election asking voters whether Woodland Park should increase its debt to pay for aquatic facilities in the Teller County town of more than 7,500 people. If approved, the city would be allowed to borrow up to $10.7 million with the caveat that taxes will not be raised.
"I think it's very appropriate that it should go to the voters," said Steve Jeroslow, a member of the board of directors for the Woodland Aquatic Project, which has been pushing for a community pool for years.
"I think that there was a general consensus that they felt this could be a positive for the community," Jeroslow said of the council's discussion before casting the 7-0 vote.
According to deputy city clerk Suzanne LeClercq, nobody spoke on the swimming pool ballot measure during the public comment portion of the meeting. She said Woodland Park will coordinate with Teller County election officials to organize the November election. Anyone wishing to protest the ballot question has until 6 p.m. Thursday to do so.
The council's decision and the ensuing ballot question will allow the city to follow through with the council's promise made in October to find a way in 2014 to pay for a community pool without raising taxes. According to the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights passed in 1992, any increase in a city's debt must first go to an election of the people.
The council voted last fall to opt out of including an aquatic center as part of a renovation plan for a downtown park. In late-November, a plan for Memorial Park was chosen that did not include the pool. The Woodland Aquatic Project, a nonprofit formed in 2012, pushed for the aquatic center to be included in one of three potential plans.
Jeroslow said the Woodland Aquatic Project will work until November to gain as much support for a community pool as possible.
The ordinance establishing the ballot question says it will "promote the health, safety and general welfare of the Woodland Park community."
Contact Gazette reporter Matt Steiner at 636-0362.