Winamac’s new park board will meet for the first time today. During a special meeting, board members are expected to discuss the town’s swimming pool rebuilding project. The park and recreation board was established, in part, to oversee the new pool, keeping it under the town’s jurisdiction. The town council has promised to contribute $150,000 to the pool project, while a fund has been set up at the Community Foundation of Pulaski County to collect private donations. With a plan now in place to keep the pool under the town’s control, town officials have decided to keep that $150,000 in the town’s accounts, where it can continue to earn interest, rather than place it in the fund at the Community Foundation.
During a special meeting of the Winamac Town Council Tuesday, council member Judy Heater said that arrangement needs to be put in writing, to allow the project to move ahead. “What we need is a letter saying that we’re on board, that we have committed to the $150,000, that we will be taking on the project at the end,” she said. “No one’s ever signed an agreement with the Community Foundation. It needs to be done.”
Clerk-Treasurer Melanie Berger said that’s now up to the new park board, “The one that needs to sign this document, quite honestly, is the park board, because the pool’s going to fall under the park board. So we’ll get the board set up, and then the park board can be the one that signs, because that’s where the pool falls under.”
Board members may consider approving that letter today, during their 5:00 p.m. meeting at the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office in the Winamac Town Hall.
However, there are a few issues with the town’s donation to the pool project that need to be resolved. The council had previously decided to spread that donation out over two years, with $75,000 appropriated this year and the other $75,000 appropriated next year. They also passed a resolution to transfer $150,000 from the town’s Economic Development Income Tax Fund into its General Fund for the purpose.
But after speaking with officials from the Department of Local Government Finance and the State Board of Accounts, Berger decided it would be easier and cleaner to simply start over and donate the entire amount next year. “We’re not spending it this year,” she said. “It would be different if we were towards the project and we needed to spend it this year, but we aren’t going to. The cleaner record would be to rescind that resolution, do away with transferring the $150,000 from EDIT to the General Fund. We’ll do the resolution not to spend that $75,000 this year, which gives us the authority to do it next year. We add the other $75,000 to it. That gives us our whole $150,000 in one transaction.]
The town attorney plans to present a resolution for the town council’s approval at its next meeting.