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Batavia lawmakers raise doubts on pool subsidy

The Genesee-Wyoming Family YMCA asked the City Council during a conference session Monday to restore a subsidy for pool operations, but the request brought doubts from some Council members.

Wes Audsley, YMCA director, is seeking a three-year commitment of $66,400 to help maintain a community pool and add recreational opportunities for residents.

However, some Council members questioned a subsidy for a membership organization and how many nonmembers would benefit.

Audsley said that one of eight city residents is a member and that nonmembers are offered a discount rate for the pool, which operates up to 100 hours a week.

A new YMCA, a city-owned pool and senior citizen center were built in 1977 as part of an urban-renewal project. The YMCA operated the pool, but the city gave up its ownership in 2002 about the same time there were two drownings of teenagers within two months. The YMCA insurance carrier settled the lawsuits, and the city was not found liable.

Three years ago, an annual city subsidy ended, and the YMCA is now seeking financial help. Auds-ley said the city and the YMCA should continue a long-standing partnership for the area's only indoor pool, which he said is used by more than 40,000 people a year. The Council took no action but requested figures on the pool's use by nonmembers and how they would benefit by a city taxpayer subsidy.

In a regular meeting, the Council, after lengthy debate, voted, 5-3, to approve a $103,580 contract with Sicilia Construction Co. of Buffalo to replace sidewalks on both sides of Washington Avenue.

The no votes came from ward Council Members James R. Russell, Kathleen Briggs and Rose Mary Christian.

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