July 16, 2014

Absentee voting is underway for City of Carroll voters on a referendum for $1.355 million of the $1.665 million estimated cost to add a lazy river and associated improvements at the Family Aquatic Center.

The Carroll County Auditor's Office received ballots last week, and so far, three people have voted absentee in the Aug. 5 election.

Voters can request ballots by mail with postage paid on the return or vote absentee in person at the auditor's counter in the Carroll County Courthouse. The process of voting in person takes about 90 seconds. The auditor's office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Elderly people or the disabled with mobility issues can call the auditor's office and ask to have absentee ballots brought outside into the courthouse drive or parking lot so they can vote without having to leave their vehicles. Such voters can call ahead for arrangements at 792-9802.

Absentee balloting can take place until 11 a.m. on Aug. 5, as the regular election period runs from noon to 8 p.m. that Tuesday.

At a recent regular meeting, council members debated whether to set the vote to issue general-obligation bonds at $1.355 million or $1.7 million. Councilwoman Carolyn Siemann prevailed with her argument that the referendum is more likely to clear the needed 60-percent super-majority threshold with the lower figure as it psychologically sounds better.

"I'm trying to think like a taxpayer," Siemann said. "I am a taxpayer."

Council members voted to send the $1.355 million figure to the voters. A follow-up motion also passed on filling the financing gap of an estimated $300,000 with revenue from Carroll's local-option sales tax.

"We'll be using multiple funding streams," Siemann said.

Dave Schwartz, a principal with We Design Pools in Lenexa, Kansas, said the "long" lazy river, of about 400 feet, would cost an estimated $1.3 million. A 400-foot extension of the bathhouse to accommodate more patrons would cost $300,000. A water heater for the lazy river carries a price tag of $65,000.

Voters in August 2006 approved a referendum for $2.96 million in city funding for the pool - which cost an estimated $4.127 million at the time it opened. A lazy river had been part of the original planning for the aquatic center, but council members removed it to lower the public asking.

The aquatic center opened in July 2009.