With a pool bond, timing is everything

It’s cliché to say, but nevertheless true in many instances, that timing is everything.

What works at one point in time, may not work in another one, and this saying comes to mind as the visibility and progression of the local citizen-led pool committee escalates. The committee began meeting late last year when Parks and Recreation District staff and board members decided the more than 60-year-old swimming facility had reached a point where the replacement is more economically viable than continued repairs.

That is the main reason, but not the only explanation, given for replacing the pool. Senior citizens need a place for year-round, low-impact exercise, and an outdoor pool just doesn’t cut it. Kids also need a pool that won’t leave their feet scraped up and bleeding.

Committee efforts were initially limited to meeting and brainstorming what actions they should take to make passage of a pool bond measure a reality. They had to decide what the town needs in a pool and how much they are willing to pay in taxes to get it.

More recently, work has turned to public outreach as the committee spent time visiting with people at the pool’s opening day and increased its presence during Roundup Week with a parade float and booth at Western Daze.

The committee also decided that now is the time to pursue a feasibility study. They will hire a firm to examine the community and determine what the community needs and what its residents can afford. It is the first big step, the first significant expense associated with the effort. Also revealed during a recent Parks and Recreation board meeting is committee members have narrowed a list of pool locations down to four.

All of this to say that the pool effort has seemingly shifted from first gear into third, which will undoubtedly please people. But here’s our concern. There is another car, the jail bond measure effort, on the road next to them, already in third gear and engine wound out with a November ballot measure waiting at the finish line.

Parks leaders have not taken the bold step of publicly proclaiming their intentions to seek a bond this fall, nor do we think they have the time to make that happen. But it is not unreasonable to see them put something on the ballot during the following special election in May.

Whether that is the best time or not is hard to know at this point. We have yet to see if the jail bond makes the November ballot. We don’t yet know whether it will succeed, and if so, by what margin. All of those factors will likely feed into what taxpayers are will to take on in a pool tax bond.

Perhaps May would be too soon. Maybe waiting another year beyond that is a bad idea. Hopefully, these question get answered in the coming weeks and months. Hopefully, the parks district keeps its foot near the brake pedal as the pool effort picks up speed — just in case it’s too soon for another tax measure if the jail levy passes. At the same time, they shouldn’t hesitate to race toward the finish line if the voters are cheering them on.

Unfortunately, there are no clear answers at this point, but we urge pool project leaders to keep an ear open and watch the road ahead carefully. Hopefully in doing so, they can present a bond when it has the best chance at success. Timing is everything.