On Saturday, the Vanguard reported that the city’s Civic Pool has a substantial leak of over 7500 gallons a day. Given the drought and infrastructure concerns, this causes complications as the city council will be asked to sort out a potential spring 2015 parcel tax that may now have to be extended to cover pools in addition to roads.
In a report from CBS 13 in Sacramento, city officials acknowledge the leak, acknowledge that they have known about it for some time, and acknowledge that it is not just a simple fix.
City staffer Melissa Chaney told the news station, “It was a little bit more than normal evaporation, so that’s what brought it to our attention.”
The station reports, “City engineers agree with swim instructor Stu Hahn’s assessment that cracks in the pool’s skimmers are the reason for the lost water.”
“It’s not a single leak that they’ve identified,” he said. “It’s throughout the whole system.”
“Every time waves splash through, a little bit of water comes out but over the course of the day we use this pool 12 hours a day for swimming so there is a lot of waves and unfortunately there is a lot of loss,” he said.
They asked Melissa Chaney if the water soaking into the ground would damage the soil. She responded, “The water itself will not damage the soil underneath, it’s safe. We make our own chlorine from salt, so we don’t put out a high level of chlorine into the water.”
They note that the leak issue has been out of sight for some time, but with the drought, the issue is pushing to the forefront.
CBS 13 reported, “If the city just drains the pool, the structure could become compromised and leave the city with the decision to either close it permanently” or build a new pool.
CBS 13 does connect this issue to the larger budgetary issues facing the community. As we noted on Saturday, the city was able to pass a sales tax in June to cover current structural deficits, but most of that money will not go to infrastructure. Roads remains a priority, but increasingly pools are becoming part of the conversation.
Ken Petruzzelli of the Davis Aquatic Masters laid it out pretty well this week in his guest Vanguard piece. He wrote, “Framing discussion of Davis pools in terms of necessities versus luxuries creates a false dichotomy. Amenities such as pools are central to creating and maintaining community. Amenities make a city an attractive and enjoyable place to live. Given that people typically want to live where they work, civic amenities have never played a greater role in attracting businesses to a city and attracting talent to businesses.”
Do we want to live in a community that has to cut corners to survive? The B-modified street, sidewalk, bike path plan calls for us to ramp up spending to the point where we have an average PCI of about 63. In schoolyard terms, that means Davis’ roads would rate a D.
That does not include what it would take to repair our pools, maintain our parks, and fix our city buildings.
As Mr. Petruzzelli writes, “In the coming months, as Davis again discusses how to invest money in its civic infrastructure, we hope the public will consider how pools and other amenities enrich our community.”
That has to be part of our discussion, because right now, a $50 parcel tax would probably pass and a $100 or $150 parcel tax would likely fail. Right now, the polling shows a $100 parcel tax fails to get to two-thirds, clocking in with 58% support, the same of the sales tax measure, while a $150 parcel tax fails to even get a majority.
The Measure O campaign passed, but failed to lay groundwork for additional needs to close gaps in funding for infrastructure.
One thing is clear – the city has aging infrastructure. The cost assessments on Community Pool and Civic Pool will probably push the city and the council further in the direction of building new infrastructure rather than pumping in hundreds of thousands if not millions to shore up aging infrastructure.
—David M. Greenwald reporting