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The Village’s priority is to fully INFORM and EDUCATE voters as best we can. Our goal is to help voters understand the purpose of the referendum and what a “yes” or “no” vote will mean. As far as advocating a position of support or opposition, that would need to come from a “grass-roots” level.
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When the Village Board approved the referendum question, they made assumptions based on the very best information available. One assumption related to the cost of interest in order to borrow project capital funds. We were able to estimate that if the Village moves forward with the project, the approximate impact on property taxes due to construction and operating costs is an increase of $44 per $100,000 in assessed property value. The $44 estimate included those initial interest cost assumptions.
However, recognizing that interest rates are increasing, the Village asked our professional financial advisors to reconsider the interest rate assumption and the property tax impact estimate. Their revised estimate is that the impact on property taxes is an estimated increase of $53.75 per $100,000 in assessed property value. For example, if your property is worth $350,000, the estimated property tax increase would be $188.13 ($53.75 x 3.5).
According to the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau: “In an advisory referendum, a legislative body places a proposed measure on the ballot to gauge the opinion of the electorate. The results of an advisory referendum are not binding, and governing bodies are not required to act in accordance with the majority opinion.”
Once the results of the referendum have been tabulated, the next steps for this project will be determined by the Village Board. But, to be clear, the Board is not limited by the referendum results. A good way to look at an “advisory referendum” is that it allows the Board to best understand the opinion of the public on a matter. That’s why high voter turnout is important. The higher the voter turnout, the more accurate the results are in reflecting true public opinion. Typically, November general elections in our community yield 80% - 90% voter turnout.
If desired, the Village Board also has the ability to go back to the voters again with another “advisory referendum” when a site, final design, and firm budget are determined.
The estimated cost to construct an outdoor aquatic facility is $9.4 million. The Village will need to borrow funds to cover this expense, with payments being made over 20 years. Interest costs associated with borrowing would be in addition to the $9.4 million construction cost estimate.
The estimated cost to operate an outdoor aquatic facility is approximately $428,000 per year. Of this, approximately $378,000 in revenues would be generated from admissions, instruction, rental and concessions. This leaves approximately $50,000 per year to be covered by tax dollars.
"Operating costs" includes labor, utilities, programming, and other direct expenses such as supplies and maintenance. Principal and interest costs are not considered "operating costs," but are factored in as a part of the total estimated financial impact.
The approximate impact on taxes, including both construction and operating costs, is an increase of $53.75 per $100,000 in assessed property value (Updated 10/25/22). So, for a home in Waunakee valued at $350,000, the annual tax impact is estimated to be $188.13.
Yes. The estimate of $53.75 per $100,000 of assessed property value (Updated 10/25/22) includes all of the associated costs. These include the principal and interest on the debt and the net operational costs of the facility (estimated expenditures less the estimated revenues).
The exact programming mix for an aquatics facility has not yet been determined, but the facility as proposed would include spaces for a wide variety of activities including, but not limited to, recreational swimming, swimming lessons, adult lap swim, water exercise, special events, competitive swimming, fitness and rehabilitation.
The stand-alone lap pool and surrounding deck space as shown in the facility study would provide ample space for a summer dual swim meet. The lanes would be outfitted with starting blocks, backstroke flags and access to electricity for time keeping and scoring. Temporary seating for spectators would need to be arranged.
The site for this facility has not yet been determined, but it is the intention of the Board that it will be one which is already owned by the Village, in an effort to limit land acquisition costs associated with the project.
While a centrally located site would be ideal, there are no undeveloped parcels available that meet this criteria. The most likely opportunity will be a future development area where a certain area of parkland has to be dedicated to the Village for public use. Parkland dedication is something that is already required by Village ordinance.
Village staff have reviewed the entire Village and our growth areas to determine potential sites. You can click here for a detailed map showing site possibilities.
The facility as proposed will include two separate pools (technically called “vessels”) - both heated, but controlled separately. Traditionally the lap pool would be kept at a cooler temperature, with the recreation pool warmer to accommodate the youngest swimmers and adults using the space for exercise and rehabilitation purposes.
Yes. To make the best use of this seasonal facility during the warm weather months the facility would include lights to allow for programming into the evening hours.
Yes. An operations pro forma was established as a part of the Aquatic Center Feasibility Study. This study estimated cost recovery rate for year one of 88% for the outdoor aquatic facility. The exact fee structure will be prepared and approved at a later date by the Village Board. As with all recreation programming offered by the Village, financial assistance will be available for families in need to make sure the facility is accessible to all.
Yes. As with all recreation programming offered by the Village, this facility will be available for use regardless of the residency of the participant. Admission and/or registration fees will reflect a higher non-resident rate.
The picture provided in the most recent marketing materials represents the general scope of the proposed facility (general amenities, size, cost, support facilities). It is not, however, the final design. Once the Village Board gives the go-ahead for this project, design engineers will be hired to finalize the plans.
Once the general project is approved to move forward by the Village Board, there is room for conversation with user groups who might want to be financial supporters for modifications to the proposed facility.
A competitive request for proposal process will be utilized to select a firm to complete the final design of the facility, the construction plans, and bidding documents.
At this point in time, private fundraising has not been a focus of the project. The Village Board is asking the community for their opinion about building and operating the facility through property tax support. However, citizens interested in supporting the project financially should contact Village staff to discuss further.
This referendum only asks the question about an outdoor facility. As the project moves forward and site selection becomes the focus, choosing a site where a future phase might be possible would be a consideration.
After the November referendum, the Village Board will be tasked with using what they heard from voters to help in making a decision about what to do next.
If the Board decides to proceed with next steps in constructing an outdoor aquatics facility, they would first need to select a design / engineering firm. Once hired, a project of this scale could have a design phase that lasts 6 to 9 months. This would result in bidding for the project in the late fall/winter of 2023 with construction during the summer of 2024.
A key factor is the steps necessary to finalize the facility location. The ability and timing to secure a location will certainly have an impact on project timing.
The Village’s professional aquatics consultants gave careful consideration to other aquatics offerings and facilities in the community and surrounding area. The Village’s proposed facility is intended to be a complimentary addition to local aquatics offerings, and may provide an opportunity for partnerships that we are not able to offer today.
The Village is very open to partnership opportunities and initiated a few conversations with other organizations. However, at this point no formal partnerships have been established. We remain open to exploring partnerships further.
We are aware of the challenges that similar aquatics facilities are facing when it comes to hiring qualified staff (not unlike current workforce challenges faced by many in almost every industry and sector). A focus on staffing plans will be an early consideration should a project move forward.
www.waunakee.com/aquatics - and questions can be directed to Village Deputy Administrator / Communications Manager Jared Heyn at (608)849-3015 or firstname.lastname@example.org.