Orange Township trustees opened discussions Monday evening to lease the township’s pool at North Orange Park to the YMCA of Central Ohio.
Beth Hugh, director of parks, said a lot of time and energy goes into “chasing down paperwork” for the pool each summer. She said she had discussions with the county prosecutor’s office and the state auditor’s office about management contracts for the pool.
“As long as we are doing a full-management contract, its still the township’s facility and the township’s paperwork,” Hugh said. “We’re still responsible for the audit information whether the pool management company gives us the paperwork or not.”
Hugh said as part of the discussion, the idea of leasing the pool was purposed. She said the township can lease the pool in a “tenant-landlord scenario.”
“At that point the township is not responsible for the paperwork,” she told the trustees. “It takes all the time (spent) … completely out of the township.”
With the idea of leasing out the pool, Hugh said discussions were started with the YMCA to see if they were interested.
Chris Betts, Delaware County Prosecutor’s office, said under the leasing scenario it would not be like a management contract. He said in reading the statues, it would be as if leasing any other property.
“Management provisions can’t be written into the lease,” Betts said. “At that point it would be turned over to whomever the board chose to go ahead to lease to.”
“To make it clear we can’t tell them what to do,” Trustee Debbie Taranto said. “I just want the other trustees aware of that.”
Taranto asked Betts about paying property taxes on the pool property.
“Currently we don’t pay property tax on it,” Taranto said. “How does that work for leasing?”
Betts said his understanding was if the property were leased to a not-for-profit organization, it would not void the tax exemption. “If it’s leased to some organization that is for-profit, that might go away,” he said.
Brian Kridler, Senior Vice President YMCA of Central Ohio, said the time was short, and for the YMCA to be in place and fully staffed in time for the swimming season was going to be big challenge.
“We’re in for the long haul so it’s not a short-term thing for us,” he said. “But we want to be as helpful as we can in the short-term.”
Trustee Rob Quigley said he “loved the idea,” but it would be a big change. He said he worried about getting the word out to the community.
“We’ll pull the trigger and they’ll all come running to us,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s going to happen. Just there’s people who still think we run the parade.”
Trustee Lisa Knapp expressed concerns of Liberty Township YMCA members being able to use the Orange Township pool which could cause over-crowding.
“There are 2,500-3,000 units of membership at the (Liberty) Y,” Kridler said. “The bulk of the days are in that 300-800 range visit the pool.”
Knapp said, at the risk of seeming an exclusionary, “We’re really crowded now. It’s the only community facility we have where families can always come and see their friends.”
Trustees decided to continue future talks with the YMCA about leasing the pool.
In other business trustees:
• Approved the bidding process for North Road Park
• Approved the hiring of three part-time firefighters
• Approved the creation of the positions of Fire Captain
• Approved the sale of used property to the Penta Career Center of Perrysburg, Ohio
• Approved supplemental appropriations in the amount of $850 for deposit refunds
• Approved the issuance of blanket certificates in the amount of $3,000
• Approved the issuance of a blanket certificate in the amount of $25,000
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.