Nolan Mohr makes his way on Saturday across the lily pads, a popular feature of the Carroll Aquatic Center.
Nolan Mohr makes his way on Saturday across the lily pads, a popular feature of the Carroll Aquatic Center.
May 28, 2014

Carroll City Council plans to send a roughly $1.3 million Carroll Family Aquatic Center expansion project - specifically a long lazy river - to voters in an Aug. 5 special election.

Council members voted Tuesday night to direct city manager Gerald Clausen to start preparing the paperwork to hold a special election. Public hearings will be scheduled in June.

The lazy river was originally included in the aquatic center plans when Carroll residents approved it in 2007. But the wraparound water feature was removed when bids for the project proved higher than estimates.

The decision followed discussion on the council's priorities - last fall the top four priorities for 2014 included establishing a policy regarding appropriate debt levels, conducting a study and cost analysis on a new water source for Carroll, scheduling a referendum on a library project and scheduling a referendum on a lazy river project.

After the defeat of several library project proposals in recent months, Clausen approached the council Tuesday night and said his department needed the council to update its priority list.

"We don't feel like we have any direction," he said.

Mayor Adam Schweers reminded council members that the city generates about $1.3 million in local-option sales-tax money, but 25 percent of the funding is slated for debt relief. With no referendums and no projects, the city will not have anywhere for that money to go, he said.

The balance in the sales-tax fund looks to push $800,000 next year - enough to move forward with projects that have been discussed, such as a trail system, construction of a quiet zone to eliminate train horn noise, or for recreational or library services, he added.

Council member Eric Jensen questioned whether sales-tax money could also be used for water or sewer projects, such as an anticipated $3 million project to increase the water supply.

Schweers said the funds could legally be used for those projects, but Cluasen said that water and sewer projects have funded themselves in the decades he has worked for the city.

The council is expected to schedule a work session in the next few months to discuss its priorities.