Council to hear pool update
An update on the progress of a citizen initiative to find a site and create a business plan for a community swimming pool will be presented to the Sonoma City Council during its Wednesday, Sept. 5, meeting
That meeting was postponed from Monday due to the Labor Day holiday.
In a letter to Mayor Joanne Sanders from Sam Coturri, board treasurer for the newly-formed Sonoma Valley Health and Recreation Association (SVHRA), the group explains that “we have made very serious progress.”
But, Coturri states in the letter, earlier interest in the site of the former Sonoma Truck and Auto property on Broadway has waned, and the group is now exploring other properties in the Highway 12 corridor. “We anticipate an announcement in that regards in the near future,” Coturri writes.
In the meantime, he states, SVHRA has been formally structured as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a board of directors drawn from the previous citizens group CUSP (Citizens United for a Sonoma Pool).
Besides continuing the search for a pool site, SVHRA has raised enough seed money to hire a consulting firm specializing in health and fitness facilities to conduct a feasibility study and a telephone survey of Valley residents to determine what features are important to the public.
And, Coturri adds, the group has begun the process of creating a large-scale capital campaign to help finance the project.
Sonoma has been without a public swimming pool since 2005 when the one at Sonoma Valley High School was abandoned and filled in because the school district’s insurance company determined it was in such disrepair it couldn’t be insured.
Since then the district has committed $1.5 million toward a replacement, but the availability of those funds is uncertain and there are differing opinions about the wisdom of a community pool on the high school campus.
In other council business, at the request of Sanders the city will conduct an overview of the living wage ordinance that currently guarantees a minimum hourly pay of $15.15 for all city employees and requires the same wage for contractors receiving more than $10,000 a year from the city, nonprofit organizations receiving more than $75,000 annually from the city, recipients of city leases, and concessions or franchises that employ more than 25 people and have $350,000 or more in gross annual receipts.
Sanders has been a vocal opponent of the living wage ordinance because she believes it inhibits business development.
In addition, the council will consider a resolution, requested by Mayor Pro Tem Ken Brown, that would endorse a U.S. Senate joint resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to repeal the Citizens United Supreme Court decision granting corporations the status of persons and allowing them to make unlimited donations to political campaigns.
The City Council will meet in closed session at 5 p.m. to perform an employee evaluation of City Manager Linda Kelly, conduct labor negotiations with the city’s employee association and to conference with property negotiators about the terms of the Sebastiani Theatre lease.
The regular council session will begin at 6 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room at 177 First St. W. The public is invited.