Paynesville Press - December 1, 2004

Minute with Mike

Press survey reveals little

By Michael Jacobson

The Press received only three anonymous responses to its pool survey (published on the editorial page on Wednesday, Nov. 10). This is hardly a representative sampling of the electorate, but for the sake of the three citizens who took their time to fill out the surveys, I will share what they said.

All three respondents were from the city of Paynesville. Two were against the pool, and one was in favor, roughly the same margins as the proposed aquatic park was rejected by city and township voters at the general election in November.

One pool opponent thinks property taxes are high enough, are a burden to some, and don't need to be raised for an unnecessary pool. This opponent would never support a pool and thinks the city and township should show concern to its senior citizen and moderate and low income earners.

The other pool opponent also thinks a pool is unnecessary and fears it could be a financial burden. This person wishes pool supporters would figure out a way to pay for a pool themselves and that the city and township would be satisfied with the city beach on Lake Koronis.

The pool supporter believes the whole community would benefit from a pool and that her family would enjoy having summer recreation and swimming lessons in town. She would support funding a pool in other ways and would like the city and township to improve the lake and the beach if they are not going to invest in a pool.

The city has terminated its pool committee, so it looks like this effort to build a pool may be least for now. The dream of a public pool in Paynesville is older than I am, and it keeps coming back. So whether you support it or oppose it, you can expect the idea to come back again eventually.

I was not surprised that the pool vote failed in November, but I was surprised that the margin was even greater than last spring, despite the project being smaller in scope and total cost. Either people changed their mind against the pool, or a vast majority of the additional voters were against the idea. I suspected that maybe some arguments against the pool had not been made public, and this survey was my attempt to get those views into discussion. Additional anti-pool reasons, if they exist, were not illuminated by the small response to this survey.

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