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Othello & Adams County working on pool ownership transfer

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | May 17, 2022 1:20 AM

OTHELLO — Othello city officials will work with Adams County Parks and Recreation District 1 representatives on an amendment to an existing agreement that would give the city title to the Othello Community Pool.

“It’s a cooperative arrangement we’ve had for some time,” Othello Mayor Shawn Logan said in a subsequent interview. “Adams County Parks and Recreation District 1 owns the pool.”

Othello City Council members voted to allow Logan to execute changes to the agreement during the governing body’s May 9 meeting. Logan said the agreement governing the pool is not connected with P.J. Taggares Park, which the parks and rec district is in the process of selling to the city. The agreement between the city and the parks and rec district for the pool dates back to 2006, when voters living in the parks and rec district, which includes the city of Othello, approved a bond to pay for the pool.

During the council meeting, Logan said the original agreement predates his tenure as mayor and that of the current council. He said the agreement was prompted by the need for a new pool.

“(City officials) tore out their old one - they weren’t going to continue to put money in the old pool,” Logan said. “At the time, the mayor and the city council decided that they didn’t want just the city residents to pay for this pool while county residents were able to use it too but not pay the tax on the swimming pool.”

A voter-approved bond was going to be required to pay for construction, Logan said.

“They went to the Adams County Parks and Rec District because their boundary was the Othello School District boundary. So, agreements were made between those entities,” he said.

But in the last few years the parks and rec district faced some financial challenges, Logan said. The original agreement included a $10,000 yearly payment from the city to the parks and rec district during the duration of the bond issue, to cover administrative expenses. That’s a lot of the district’s income, Logan said, and district expenses have exceeded that amount.

The bond is expected to be paid off in 2026. Logan said city officials are proposing a $60,000 lump sum payment, with the parks and rec district transferring the pool to the city.

“This would allow (the parks and rec district) to get out of debt,” Logan said.

“As a condition, if we do prepay, we want the parks and rec district to sign over ownership of the pool to the city,” Logan said.

Logan and city attorney Kelly Konkright discussed what city officials might have to do if the district ceased operation, either before the bond is paid off, or when it’s paid off.

“What if this parks and rec district goes defunct?” Logan asked. “If we wait until the end of this agreement, who’s going to then, at that time, sign the pool back over to the city, especially if we’ve already given them all the money?”

Logan said city officials decided to make transferring ownership of the pool part of the agreement.

“We want to do this now, because they have a board now. We don’t want to deal with that at a later time,” Logan said.

“That’s the purpose of the amendment, is for the city to get title to the pool now versus four or five years from now,” Konkright said.

Cheryl Schweizer may be reached at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

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