RAVENSWOOD - Concerned senior citizens took center stage at Ravenswood City Council’s meeting last week, expressing their displeasure regarding the fee increase at the Ravenswood City Pool.
In years past. the seniors paid $1 to access the pool. Now, according an ordinance that was passed, they must pay $4 to swim for one hour of water aerobics. Senior after senior stated they didn’t understand why the council passed an ordinance to increase the Ravenswood City Pool fee for a swimming season that could last 2 ½ to three months. They were also concerned that there was no formal notification publicized as to the ordinance being brought up for discussion via the public forum prior to the council meeting held the night of June 17.

Mayor Michael Ihle responded to their concerns thus far by explaining that around the month of March the ordinance was completed. Ihle also explained that the city ordinances require that if fees are changed the council must have an ordinance to complete the process. Mayor Ihle also explained that $60,000 was lost on the Ravenswood City Pool in 2013.  
The senior citizens rebuttal concluded that $4 increases to their fees were not going to be able to make up the $60,000 lost. Mayor Ihle obliged by saying, “understood,” but there were increase fees across the board, not just for the senior citizens but for everybody. Daily admissions went up $2 across the board, season passes went up $20, price for additional family member went up $10, individual passes increased $10 - $20 apiece depending on the situation and parties went up $20.

The seniors state that the council members “were not thinking of them” when the ordinance was made.
Due to the significant loss of revenue from the 2013 swim year of $60,000, changes were made in hopes to recoup enough to continue for the public to have access to the pool. Unfortunately that meant fee rises for everybody.
The seniors responded by stating they wouldn’t be able to afford to pay the money to swim for an hour twice a day. Seeking a solution, the seniors questioned the council in regards to the possible solution.  
Councilman Jared Bloxton offered a solution that could take effect as of 2015-swim season, stating that he had taken a grant funding class and planned on working closely with Mayor Ihle in hopes to acquire grant funding to eliminate the cost increases. However, the earliest action could be taken on the issue at hand would be for the 2015-swim year due to the fact that the Council must complete to separate readings. Given how late it is in the current swim season, it would be August before the new ordinance went into effect.

Dunn Engineers, Inc., consulting engineers specializing in wastewater, potable water and storm water, met with the council on the night of June 17th to proposition hat their company work with the City of Ravenswood.  F. Wayne Hypes, PE, PS President of the Dunn Engineers with 30 years plus experience and Marshall K. Snedegar were the gentleman representing the company.

After taking a look into the City of Ravenswood’s sewage and water systems, they complimented the facilities as far as the water systems was concerned. However, they were concerned with regards to the city sewage systems, simply due to the fact that there is patch job after patch job on the lines themselves and given the age that they are, it is unlikely that they will be able to hold up for much longer.  They stated that if it doesn’t get fixed in the near future the ramifications could run to a ball park estimation of $1 million dollars to correct it in addition to EPA fees.  The Dunn engineers said they are more than happy to work hand in hand professionally with the council to be able to find grant money to help fix the sewage system properly. Dunn has worked with 142 different areas through which all were able to receive funding to complete their projects. Dunn doesn’t take on a city if they personally don’t believe they will be able to obtain funding with the city.

Council members asked a few questions concerning how the process worked, after which Dunn Engineering obliged with clarifications. Dunn Engineering’s mission statement is “ We believe in clean water for everyone in West Virginia. It is our mission to make that happen.” The DEI offers complete planning, design, and construction management services for all potable water, wastewater, storm water systems, site development, and expert witnesses.
Look for updated story in future edition of Jackson Newspapers.