City of Toledo looking for money to avoid pool closures - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

City of Toledo seeks money to avoid pool closures

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Courtesy: The Toledo Blade Courtesy: The Toledo Blade

The fate of Toledo city pools this summer is in limbo. Mayor Mike Collins proposed in his 2014 budget that they remain closed, but, after hearing from residents, he's looking into alternative funding.

"I'm going to look for alternative funding streams and if I find them we will open the pools, but if I don't find them then I'm not going to lay off police officers," says Mayor D. Michael Collins.

As of now, the pools are set to remain closed, but Collins is looking at the law enforcement trust fund for potential funding, though the amount of money available in the fund is not known as of Thursday evening.

Collins expects to know its status by Monday.

"I know we expended everything in that fund when we bought motorcycles under the previous administration," says Collins.

The Law Enforcement Trust Fund is money police secure through seized drug money and revenue from seized property. The idea would be to make the pools part of the Police Athletic League.

The issue of pools was discussed at Thursday's Parks and Recreation budget hearing.

"We would need at least $200,000 to maintain the pools, plus probably an additional three or four hundred thousand dollars to fix those pools so they could be operational," says George Sarantou, the Finance Director for the City of Toledo.  "Unfortunately, the money in the budget is extremely tight."

Last year, the city operated six pools and a splash pad after council intervened to restore funding when the Bell Administration eliminated it.

This year, the city's finance director says Toledo needs to find other money. In addition to the law enforcement trust fund, private sponsorships and seeking help from the business community are being considered as options.  

We're told closing the pools would save the city around $250,000.

"The real issue is that it's time for the city to take another look at how they're going to fund recreation generally. We floated a proposal last year to fund Toledo parks on property taxes on a levy. That did not pass," says City Council Member Lindsay Webb.

"I am desperately worried about the kids," says Linda Hendricks of East Toledo who says the pool at Navarre Park keeps the kids happy, busy, and out of trouble. "They don't have anywhere to go."

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