Parcel tax should focus on roads, not pool complex

By From page A8 | July 02, 2014

Over the summer, my family plans to spend a lot of time at the Manor Pool complex in East Davis. It’s a very nice facility that houses a diving pool with both high and low diving boards, a lap pool and a zero-entry pool, in addition to a water slide and a splash pad area. The Arroyo complex in West Davis has two pools, and the city also maintains Civic Pool on B Street for organized aquatic activities.

UC Davis operates the Rec Pool that is open to the public; Hickey Pool, which has seven 25-yard lanes, is heated and is open year-round to the public; plus the Schaal Aquatic Center, which features an Olympic-size 50-meter pool.

The past few summers, my kids have participated in the AquaMonster swim team summer program, which offers team practices at Davis Swim and Fitness, the El Macero Country Club, Hickey Pool and the Schaal Aquatic Center.

The point I’m making is probably clear: We have a lot of options when it comes to pools in Davis.

Over the past six months between attending City Council meetings, helping with the Measure O booth at the Farmers Market and working on Robb Davis’ campaign for council, I’ve come to have a pretty good understanding of the dim fiscal situation the city is facing.

I’ve learned about the reductions the city has made in staffing and services.

I’ve watched city employees come to public comment and talk about the financial hardships they were going to face resulting from the cuts that were made to their compensation packages.

I’ve seen the stress my friends who work for the city face, wondering if they are going to lose their jobs.

In 2013, the city received a pavement management report that claimed that if the city did not immediately spend $150 million on road maintenance, it soon would be facing a $444 million deficit due to the exponential cost associated with delaying road repairs.

It is for this reason that I would be willing to support and campaign for a parcel tax in the fall that addressed road, sidewalk and bike path infrastructure repair and maintenance.

I will not be willing to support this tax if it includes money for a $10 million 50-meter pool complex, that ultimately would serve only the recreational needs of less than 5 percent of our population.

I realize that the groups who use our public pools for organized aquatic events believe their needs are not being met by our current infrastructure. My guess is that there are many groups in this community who feel the same way.

For that reason, I would be willing to considering supporting a parks and recreation tax in the future that addresses a more comprehensive list of amenities, but in my opinion this needs to be done after, and separately, from a parcel tax that addresses the city’s truly essential infrastructure needs.

— Michelle Millet is a Davis resident.

Michelle Millet

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