Pool

Culpeper Town Council approved two agreements with Culpeper County, concerning both contribution and operation costs of a public pool during a meeting Sept. 13.

“I don’t feel like the deal is fair but, at the same time, it’s what we need to do to have the pool,” said Councilman Travis Brown.

On Aug. 9, Council voted to move forward with tentative agreements to supply $5 million towards the design and construction of a community pool within the Culpeper Sports Complex as well as pay 50% of the yearly operating costs.

Prior to voting, however, Vice Mayor Bill Yowell expressed concern about whether the town should be responsible for paying 50% since only about 30% of the county’s residents reside within town.

Councilwoman Meaghan Taylor agreed.

Taylor voiced a similar concern during the Council’s meeting by stating that she believed providing operating costs would result in “double taxing” as town residents pay county tax as well.

“The fact that all of us here as town residents already pay county taxes,” she said. “We are already paying to support this pool in addition to the $5 million coming from the town. Any additional operating expenses that the town is asked to pay I feel like that’s us paying twice.”

Councilman Joe Short agreed the agreement may be an instance of double taxation but agreed the recommendation to supply 50% operating costs should move forward.

“I’m not sure this is the hill we want to draw the sword for that particular topic,” he said. “My thought is that we go ahead with this pool.”

Brown agreed.

“I’m not happy with the deal but I want a pool,” he said

In an Aug. 23 Public Safety, Public Works, Planning and Community Development Committee meeting, the members recommended that the Town Council approve the Pool Contribution Agreement and the Pool Operations Agreement with a slight change from the drafted agreement.

The members recommended that Council approve the agreement with the modification to require the removal of the 50% operations and maintenance costs and in turn requiring the county to pay 100% of the operations and maintenance costs.

Brown pushed back against the objection during the Aug. 9 meeting, arguing the minute difference in funds may put the whole project on hold.

“I’ve waited my whole life for a pool in this town or county. It’s been promised since I was in kindergarten,” Brown said. “If we're going to argue about $20,000 or $30,000 per year and that’s what's going to hold this up moving forward, I think that we're getting our feet stuck in the mud and it's never going to happen.”

Projected operating costs per year total $150,000, split between the two agencies.

Both the town and county have explored options to construct a community pool for “probably decades,” Town Manager Chris Hively said. 

Previous efforts have failed most often due to a lack of available funding.

In 2021 and 2022, both governments received significant monies from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), creating a pathway to directly or indirectly make funding available for construction.

maria@culpepertimes.com

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