Thursday, May 10, 2007
City hashes pool again
By SUE WATSON
The West Valley Street swimming pool may be closed forever unless the Holly Springs Board of Aldermen and mayor find a way to get liability insurance and certified lifeguards in short order.
Alderman Naylond Hayes revisited the issue of the importance of the pool to the community at last week’s board meeting, urging Mayor Andre’ DeBerry to work harder to find insurance and qualified lifeguards.
“Have we drawn a conclusion?” he asked. “I would definitely like to have it open.”
DeBerry answered that it would take four or five lifeguards trained by Red Cross certified instructors to meet insurance requirements. He said the trends in water sports have changed, due to risks and cost of insurance which has skyrocketed in recent years with underwriters requiring tighter restrictions. The city has a history of losses and agencies have to shop the risk pool, he said.
Alderman Nancy Hutchens agreed that insurance companies are tightening restrictions on pools, citing her home pool. Her diving board had to be removed as well as other restrictions in order to be reinsured, even though she has never had a claim, she said.
DeBerry said if the pool is not properly insured and insurance does not pay for a loss, the board itself would be sued for damages.
Hayes said he felt the mayor really didn’t want to open the pool; if he had wanted to he would have searched for certified water safety instructors in January.
Alderman Tim Liddy said the board needs to know if the pool is operable before advertising for lifeguards.
“You don’t want to advertise unless the pool is ready,” he said.
DeBerry cited costs to get the pool ready.
“I think we are at a crossroads,” he said, “regarding how much money we want to put into it.”
Hayes insisted the pool is ready enough with the circulating motor replaced last year and other repairs.
DeBerry said estimates to stop leaks and make other repairs came to around $60,000.
“You can repair that pool for $100,” Hayes said. “It is a better pool than what I learned to swim in.”
DeBerry said safety is an issue as well.
“I’m sure the pool could be fixed cheaper,” said Hutchens. “Let’s try to get these safety instructors.”
DeBerry agreed to make a search for qualified instructors and insurance providers.
Greg Beard, attorney for the Northeast Mississippi Solid Waste Disposal Authority in Booneville, came by to advise the city that Holly Springs and Marshall County governments still are a member of the authority, having not been formally removed per request in 2000.
“It could be that is not in our best interests,” said Hutchens. “The board of supervisors wanted out and we tagged along with them.”
Attorney Ki Jones said the city signed an resolution becoming a part of the Marshall County Solid Waste Management Authority.
Hutchens said Marshall County has not been successful in finding landfill sites.
“Why do we want to get involved if the board of supervisors has not found a site, either?” she said. “I think we need to talk with the county first.”
Beard said the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality “is breathing down our neck. We’re in the process of amending our plan and holding public hearings,” he said. “Somewhere y’all asked to be withdrawn, but it was never done.”
“We’ll just do a memorandum of understanding?” said DeBerry.
“Yes,” Beard said.
In other business the board:
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