Mechanical issues cause Plaza pool temperature to plummet | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Julie Riddle Swimmers take advantage of cooler-than-usual water at Alpena County Plaza Pool during a free family swim Friday.

ALPENA – Swimmers may have noticed a chill at the Alpena County Plaza pool after major mechanical issues lowered pool water and deck temperatures and a global parts shortage blocked pools. pieces needed to create a solution.

Officials had to shut down the pool for at least a short time earlier this month after the starters on two of the four mechanical units led to cold water and a significant drop in water levels, the agency said. Alpena County Administrator Mary Catherine Hannah to the Alpena County Board of Commissioners during their regular meeting on Friday.

Some $35,000 from the Alpena County general fund will go to help the pool keep its doors open and its water hot, the commissioners decided.

Mechanical repairs and related expenses – including the cost of dehumidifiers brought in to control excessive evaporation, systems working overtime to heat water, and freshwater pool staff added to compensate for increased evaporation – ate up the pool budget for the year. a few weeks ago, Hannah told the board.

Pool passes and swim lesson registrations are up from last year, but not enough to offset unexpected pool expenses — which include an upcoming $6,000 water bill , well above the usual cost of around $1,200 to maintain pool levels, said Norm Sommerfeld, owner of the management company that oversees the pool.

By Friday, the pool had returned to near-normal temperature and water levels were stable.

The pool repair workers believe that an unusual drop in the water level will correct itself with the repairs which are now complete, but if the water level continues to drop, the pool staff will have to drain the pool to check for leaks at the pool’s skimmer valve or main drain, Hannah says.

Several agencies financially support the pool — including, Sommerfeld said, volunteers who brought in $33,000 in fundraisers last year — but the unusual circumstances of what Hannah called a “very well-loved” community amenity from 50 years call for an extra boost from the county, she said.

To raise additional funds, the pool could have considered organizing a polar dip, commissioner Bob Adrian suggested, much to the amusement of the board.

On Friday, the Alpena Board of Commissioners also:

* has expressed its intention to engage in a service that connects landowners to financing energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy projects. The service will add no cost to the county, Adrian said, and the public will have an opportunity to comment before the county officially commits to the service, called Lean and Green Michigan. An Alpena owner hopes to use funding through the service to build a hotel, a Lean and Green representative said.

* agreed to change a 1998 policy to allow the county to house its funds with credit unions. With fewer banks open than in the past, Alpena County Treasurer Kim Ludlow said, she needs commissioners’ approval to approach credit unions about the approximately $4 million she hopes disburse in the county.

* agreed to proceed with the creation of a human resources position for the county. The new full-time employee will report to the commissioners and handle benefits, insurance, hiring and other human resources issues, many of which were previously handled by the county clerk’s office.

Upon the retirement of an employee of the Clerk’s Office beginning next week, following the announced retirement of County Clerk Bonnie Friedrichs, the office will be reduced from five employees to four along with the new human resources position will take over some of the functions performed by the former county clerk, creating what Hannah called an overall neutral impact on the county budget.

Friedrichs told council the clerk’s office might need at least part-time help or even go back to five staff, but said now is the time to move human resources issues under the auspices of the commissioners. .

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @jriddleX.

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