BANDON — Voter approval will be required for any expenditure of public funds for the operation and maintenance of a public or private swimming pool in Bandon city limits.
That's what voters told the Bandon City Council when they passed Measure 6-172 soundly in Tuesday's mid-term general election. There were 875 "Yes" votes on the measure (61.88 percent) and 539 "No" votes (38.12 percent), for a total of 1,414 votes.
"I realize that our charter amendment was somewhat confusing, but I am glad the voters understood that we were trying to lock into the charter the prohibition that the city could not be pressured at some time in the future into paying for the operation and maintenance of a swimming pool, even though many of us do support the pool," said Mayor Mary Schamehorn.
"Like so many Bandon residents, I hope the pool is built and that it succeeds," Schamehorn added. "This just ensures that the city will never be on the hook to pay for the O&M unless the voters specifically change the charter to allow it."
The possibility of a pool being built has been a hot topic in Bandon recently, after an anonymous donor promised $2.5 million in their will for a pool in Bandon — provided it is located in City Park.
That bequest has the Bandon Parks & Recreation Commission and city planners looking at potential sites in City Park.
However, a group of residents who live near the park are adamantly opposed to having a pool located there, saying it will ruin the natural feel of the park, cause increased congestion and negatively affect the park and neighborhood.
Aquatic Center board members are not daunted by the task of building a swimming pool for South Coast residents. Supporters maintain they have no intention of using public funds for ongoing maintenance and operation. Instead, those fees will be paid for by users in the form of annual memberships. The board has been raising money to get the swimming pool built and are confident they can do so without asking for a bond measure or tax levy.
Mayor, City Council
In other election results, Bandon Mayor Mary Schamehorn and the three City Council incumbents — Chris Powell, Peter Braun and Madeline Seymour — have been re-elected. All four ran unopposed. Schamehorn will serve an eighth two-year term as mayor, having served for the past 14 years. She has run unopposed for four of her seven bids for election. This will be Powell's fourth four-year term, and Braun's and Seymour's second four-year term.