Gateway, pool plans move forward in Mission

The Mission City Council will act on the final proposals for the Gateway Community Improvement Districts this month after their approval by committee Wednesday. The committees also started the process for the replacement of the Mission pool, which gets a boost from a sales tax increase approved by voters last fall.

The finance and administration committee approved two separate CID districts that will impose additional sales tax charges on customers at the Gateway businesses. The first district provides for a half-cent on sales at all businesses, including Walmart. The second district adds another half-cent on all businesses except Walmart. The half-cent at Walmart and the one cent sales tax at all other businesses will help pay for public bonds issued later this year to support the project.

The city is starting its preparations for the bond sale and was told that the project is proceeding on schedule.

A resolution supporting the replacement of the swimming pool at Andersen Park brought generated questions during the community development committee discussion. Councilor Amy Miller challenged one clause of the resolution that said voters approved a dedicated sales tax with the expectation that a new pool would be built and open in 2014. Miller pointed out that the ballot language did not mention a pool, rather parks and recreation, and the voters expectation was not known to be for a pool.

That view created an exchange with other councilors who said voters clearly knew the vote was about a pool. The recommendation for a dedicated sales tax came from a swimming pool task force. “It’s disingenuous to say people didn’t go to the ballot expecting a pool. We were very clear it wasn’t just about a pool,” said Councilor David Shepard. Besides the pool, maintenance at Sylvester Powell Community Center and other parks will be included in the funding.

The resolution was approved to send to council with some compromise language included. The city has selected a design-build team. The resolution which goes to council next week authorizes the process to move forward with creating the pool design. Construction approval will come back to council for approval. Bonds will be sold this year for the project and paid by the 10-year sales tax.

Councilor Lawrence Andre asked for consideration of non-traditional outreach programs to involve the community in the parks projects.