Swimming pool set to reopen
Four visitors attended the Sept. 1 Holyoke City Council meeting to support the reopening of Holyoke Swimming Pool.
The council ultimately voted unanimously to open the pool.
Pool manager Karla Pargas and Holyoke JR/SR High School Principal Angie Powell spoke supporting the reopening. Included in council members’ packets was an email from Caryl Harvey questioning why the pool remained closed.
The pool will reopen Monday, Sept. 14. It will be open for lap swim 6-7 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. It will be open for water exercise 8-9 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 5-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
Pargas said no showers or locker rooms will be used, and one restroom will be open. Patrons are asked to avoid coming to the pool if ill, and they will have to wear masks on the way in and on the way out. Additionally, they must sign a waiver to use the pool.
Lodging tax wording approved on first reading
In a roll call vote, the council approved on first reading the wording for a ballot issue concerning the extension of the city’s public lodging tax.
In 2016, voters approved the public lodging tax, which is set to expire Dec. 31, 2021. This provides for a 2.5% tax on the leasing or renting of rooms or other accommodations in commercial lodging facilities by short-term visitors and guests.
The tax is currently used for the expenditures of Holyoke recreation programs.
The issue will be brought back before the council for public comments and a second reading Sept. 15. If the council approves it Sept. 15, the topic will go on the ballot to be voted on in the Nov. 3 election.
If the ballot issue passes in November, the five-year lodging tax will be extended another five years to Dec. 31, 2026.
Because of the type of ballot question it will be, it has to have a taxpayer bill of rights notice. Anyone has until Sept. 18 to turn in comments for or against the ordinance to the city clerk.
Council hears reports
City Superintendent Mark Brown reported no power outages but told council members that city crews are scheduled to remove secondary lines and low-voltage wires in a two-block area. He also told the council about the annual testing of nonresidential water backflow devices. He said crews will make any necessary fixes and retest any devices that fail.
Police Chief Doug Bergstrom reported that Holyoke Police Department handled or generated 92 calls for service from Aug. 12-26, including code enforcement. He also said the new body cameras and Tasers for HPD have arrived.
City Clerk Kathy Olofson provided an update on the upcoming election, noting that the drawing for the ballot order of the three mayoral and six city council candidates occurred Sept. 1.
Olofson also noted that there is a planning commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15.
Recreation director Victoria Dunker reported that 36 children started flag football Sept. 1. There will be a total of five games, and all will be against Haxtun. Four games will be in Holyoke and one in Haxtun.
In other business at the Sept. 1 meeting, council members approved a salary of $500 for Dylan Miles for coaching flag football in September.