Declining enrollment adversely impacts revenue generated by pool referendum, but agreement appears to remain on track

    Saying he wanted to guard against anyone getting caught off guard later or having to deal with “unmet expectations,” Crookston School District Superintendent Jeremy Olson convened a meeting Monday of the district’s Long Range Planning Committee, and he invited City of Crookston officials to alert them that the amount of money the district was originally planning to transfer to the City as part of the City taking over ownership of the Community Swimming Pool is going to be somewhat less than previously projected.

    The Crookston City Council’s Ways & Means Committee in October unanimously approved the transaction. It’s on the council’s Nov. 13 meeting agenda for consideration. But the agreement they consider that will include a little less money kicked in from the school district as part of the deal.

    The discrepancy recently discovered lies in the remaining years on the 10-year voter-approved referendum that provides annual pool-specific revenue. In the years since the referendum was OK’ed, the school district has made major investments to upgrade the pool facility. As part of the agreement with the City, the district was to transfer the revenue from the remaining two years on the referendum to the City. Since there’s a two-year lag between the enrollment data that helps determine the money generated by the voter-approved levy and the money actually being dispersed to the district, Olson explained that the declining enrollment in the district over the past two years is going to reduce the amount of revenue generated by the pool referendum.

    The adjusted amount came to light last week, Olson said, and will amount to approximately $145,000 a year, rather than the approximately $155,000 included in the initial agreement. After bringing it to City Administrator Shannon Stassen’s attention, Olson said it was determined that a public meeting should be held so the updated figures were out in the open. At Monday’s meeting, Olson said the district will “absorb the difference” in revenue over those two years.

    “We wanted to be transparent and provide an update in a public setting,” Olson tells the Times. “We don’t want (the council) voting on something they don’t know about.”

    Stassen, Mayor Wayne Melbye and Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson attended Monday’s meeting. Olson said the agreement to transfer ownership of the pool still appears to be on track. “We’re both trying to work together to get this done without either one of us having to take on the brunt of anything,” he said.

    If the council approves the resolution on Nov. 13, efforts would soon commence to come up with ways to increase the pool’s use and impact on the community and region. It’s expected that a committee will be formed to lead that effort, in advance of the official transfer taking place on July 1, 2019.