SWIM Center manager Lynn Rostad-Anderson appeared before the Spring Grove City Council on Sept. 18, giving a report on the 2012 season, which ended on Aug. 19.

Current (year-to-date) figures for the aquatic center indicate that the facility lost $71,255 in 2012.

Rostad-Anderson said the pool did very well during July, but cooler-than normal weather in August hurt attendance at season's end.

The cool temperatures also cost the city quite a bit to run water heaters in August, City Administrator Theresa Coleman stated.

The addition of non-slip carpet and other repairs added to the red ink, Rostad-Anderson stated. But the added safety was well worth the $3,575 spent on the waterproof carpeting, she added.

The cost of chemicals was also sharply higher; nearly double last year's figures.

"I know it's benefiting our businesses," Rostad-Anderson stated.

She asked the council to consider setting up a policy for early closures when temperatures are below a set value, since paid staff is at the pool on days when few swimmers are utilizing the facility.

Mayor Saundy Solum added that the pool also needs to have some guaranteed open hours, since out-of-town visitors are put off when they arrive and find the pool closed early for lack of attendance.

By consensus, future pool hours will be placed on the council's agenda in October, although a date wasn't set.

Split votes on tobacco fee

Council members Robert Vogel and Steve Kemp voted "no" on two measures that passed 3-2.

The first was a motion to reduce tobacco license fees from $500 to $300 that was discussed at the last council meeting.

The second was to publish the change to the fee schedule in an "abbreviated" manner.

Councilmember Lorilyn Dehning asked Coleman to include a sufficient amount of information in the notice so that readers will understand what it's about.

Publication costs remain in dispute

On a related note, the council briefly discussed the ongoing debate about the publication of the city's financial information under the "attorney" section of the agenda, even though City Attorney Joe Hammell did not attend the meeting.

"Joe sent me an email stating that it's an administrative issue," Solum said. She later added that Hammell recommended not paying the Herald for the disputed billing amount of one full page of financial information printed in excess of Coleman's emailed request.

"I think they published what they should have," Dehning countered. "Without half the pages, it wouldn't have made sense. If we want to be more transparent, like we've said we wanted to be, it should be published."

Vogel said that he could not find the financial report on the city's website.

"That's why it should be in the paper, because a lot of people probably can't find it," Dehning said.

Coleman said the report is online and is also available at city hall.

"This next year we'll have to make sure when they print it, that we decide exactly what we want (beforehand)," Solum said.

Dehning said the total bill should be paid, and added that the abbreviated printing is "so much different from what we've published in the past that I would rather have that come to council before that decision was made."

Vogel asked to have the issue of what financial information will be published placed on the agenda prior to next year's deadline. There were no objections.

Other news from the council

The council voted to install four new signs at the fire station and city hall, and add Norwegian translations to them.

Vogel cast the single "nay" on that motion. He was also the lone opposition to a motion from Dehning to add Norwegian translations to any future city signage.

Members agreed to hold a closed session to discuss a "personnel matter" prior to their Oct. 2 meeting.

Editor's note: No other information was provided even though it is required so by law.