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2:59 PM Thu, Sept. 20th

Chino Valley council supports 'basic community pool'<BR>Also votes to increase business license fees

CHINO VALLEY – Town Council members supported the construction of a "basic community pool" within two years and voted to raise the town's business licensing fees during back-to-back meetings last week.

Mayor Karen Fann and Council Member Pat Purdin met with members of the Chino Valley Recreational Foundation and swimming pool managers from Show Low and Peoria for more than two hours to ask questions about operating a community pool.

They learned about operating costs, swimming lessons, utilities, school use, partnerships, construction costs, play features, family features, peak capacity, swim teams, staffing needs, admission fees, pool size, diving wells, maintenance, chlorinating systems, insurance costs, transportation for children, indoor versus outdoor facilities, lockers, refreshment options and many other details about operating a community pool.

The recreational foundation has banked about $200,000 to build an aquatic center, but failed in 2003 to gather enough signatures to ask voters if they would support an additional half-cent sales tax to pay for a multi-million dollar center at Old Home Manor.

In a special meeting, the council talked about a pool in Chino Valley with Fann supporting short- and long-range goals.

In the short term, the mayor said, she would support a "basic pool" with three swimming lanes and "zero depth" features at the Chino Valley Community Center property.

Impact fees from new housing probably will pay for a later pool at Old Home Manor, she said, and that will work because eventually most of the population will be on the east side of Highway 89. About two-thirds of the property within current town limits is east of Highway 89.

Fann talked about "doing it in steps at first ... maybe being open only six or seven months a year."

The council also talked about financing a pool and possible sources of revenue.

In addition to the money the recreational foundation has raised in the past 15 years, the Bright Star development donated $100,000 toward the construction of a pool.

Town Manager Bill Pupo suggested the town ask residents "how do you want us to accomplish this?" in an upcoming survey that the town plans to mail to Chino Valley residents.

In other business, council members voted to amend the town code and increase business license fees. They also established a process for automatic annual adjustments in fees.

The town has not increased business license fees since 1990, Finance Director Linda York said. She compared Chino Valley's fees with those in other municipalities before recommending changes to the council.

The general business license fee will be $50 annually, instead of the former $30, and the town will charge $336 for a swap meeting license, up from $200. Transient merchants will pay $50 a day to conduct business in Chino Valley, and mobile merchants will pay $50 each year.

Contact the reporter at dgoss@prescottaz.com