BOC looks to re-evaluate options for Kaliseum funding

By: 
Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

Photo by Dennis Mansfield

The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners hosted a special meeting May 13 to discuss what to do less than a week after a majority of voters defeated a 20-year, 1.5-mill proposal in a special election Tuesday, May 7. The lone ballot proposal before voters countywide garnered only 1,549 “yes” votes against 2,063 “no” votes.

 

KALKASKA – Plans by Kalkaska County officials to renovate and upgrade the aging Kaliseum Recreation Complex might have hit a roadblock last week, with voters defeating a proposed funding request, but the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners and supporters of the county-owned facility have yet to waive the white flag of surrender.

Commissioners hosted a special meeting to discuss what to do less than a week after a majority of voters said “no” to a 20-year, 1.5-mill proposal in a special election Tuesday, May 7. The lone ballot proposal before voters countywide garnered only 1,549 “yes” votes against 2,063 “no” votes.

The timing of the special meeting May 13 at the Kaliseum was key, as commissioners would have had to re-approve language Monday night in order for it to appear on the Aug. 6 ballot.

According to District No. 3 Commissioner Kohn Fisher, chairman of the county board, commissioners instead reached a consensus on a second option. That was to re-evaluate whether to place a funding request on the Nov. 5 ballot, as well as exploring other potential avenues to pay for millions in needed repairs.

County officials closed the Kaliseum’s pool area in mid-September 2018, after a fastener fell from the ceiling/roof. Fisher said it could cost between $650,000 to $850,000 to fix the roof and other structural issues to re-open the pool, a price tag currently not within the county board’s budget.

Without the needed funding, the pool area will reportedly remain closed.

“You can’t risk it,” Fisher added. “I wouldn’t put people in there.”

The ballot proposal defeated in the May 7 special election would have raised over $28 million to overhaul and upgrade mechanical equipment at the county-owned facility, as well as for renovations, maintenance and operational funding over the two decades of the proposed tax levy.

But, the proposal was rejected in 10 of 12 voting districts. Kalkaska Township was the lone district in which the ballot proposal passed, 606 to 401. And, it was a draw in Oliver Township, with 32 votes cast in support of the issue against 32 “no” votes.

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