Watertown lawmakers divided over how to pay for Flynn Pool project

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) – After putting it out to bid last week, It’s unclear how the city aims to pay for rehabilitating Flynn Pool.

It has two options: either pay up-front in cash or bond for it, which would allow the city to cover the $3.8 million cost over a longer period of time.

It’s a choice that has left Watertown’s city council divided.

“You know everyone keeps talking about being fiscally responsible and we have a perfect example right here,” said Lisa Ruggiero, city council member.

Ruggiero believes the fiscally responsible thing to do is to bond for the project and keep the city’s savings for other needs. The city manager also thinks that’s the best course of action.

“It’s not critical this year but down the road, it’d be better to have those funds available,” said Ken Mix, city manager.

To bond, 4 out of 5 council members need to say yes. That means support needs to come from either Council Member Sarah Compo Pierce or Mayor Jeff Smith, who are critical of the project.

“Obviously we need a fourth person. It could be the councilwoman; it could be the mayor. I would hope they both did,” said Ruggiero.

Compo Pierce tells us she’s not on board.

“I don’t support bonding for it so the option that the council would have to pursue would be paying for it in cash,” she said.

Paying for it in cash requires only 3 yes votes and that’s likely a lock.

Compo Pierce says she won’t change her mind – taking the stance that the money would be better spent on other projects, like the water treatment plant upgrade.

“I think it’s most important to address needs like that first before we take a step to spend another several million dollars on a recreational asset,” she said.

We haven’t heard back from Mayor Smith.

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