At a joint meeting on June 8, members of the New Paltz Town Board and Village Board discussed the problems with Moriello Pool, the opening of which has been delayed a month or more with the discovery of leaks in its liner. Paying for those repairs falls to town taxpayers according to the agreement between the governmental bodies, but if — when, rather — the liner actually needs replacement, it’s hoped that it will be treated as a capital expense, meaning that the village reserves will also be tapped.
A single estimate received for liner replacement puts the cost at more than $111,000. Supervisor Neil Bettez is hopeful that the repairs — scheduled for no sooner than June 24, due to the demand for such services at this time of year — could last as long as two years. That would mean two years of setting aside money for each board. Neither municipal budget has had any money set aside for capital expenses at the pool in recent memory, meaning that at least $55,000 would need to be budgeted by each government in a relatively short amount of time.
The leak that’s been identified is where one set of stairs descends into the pool, meaning that the fix is beyond even the diverse skills of the town’s buildings and grounds employees. They have successfully stopped other leaks in the past.
Village trustees sounded skeptical about the notion that repairing the liner is maintenance, but replacing it a capital expense. “I might be strict in my interpretation,” he said.
Mayor Tim Rogers noted that using a pool liner is unusual. “Every other municipal pool has gunite,” he said, referring to the dry-process pneumatically-applied concrete that keeps the water in.
Bettez agreed that it’s worth considering replacing a liner with gunite. “There is some yearly maintenance with that as well, but we’re looking into all of that. The supervisor has stated on several occasions that, while he hopes the liner repair will provide time to do a full inspection and publish a request for proposals, there are no guarantees on how long the fix might last. “Leaks are the downside of liners,” he said.
“It’s still possible we can’t repair,” noted council member Marty Irwin. If a replacement is needed, their pool contractor advised them, it couldn’t be scheduled sooner than the autumn in any case. A request has been made of the town’s engineering firm, Barton & Loguidice, to compile a list of professionals qualified to do that kind of work. Fees collected from users of the pool are sufficient to pay lifeguards and other employees, but Bettez said that running the pool costs up to $70,000 a year more than what’s collected. “It costs us a thousand dollars a month in chlorine alone.”