Carlsbad will put Monroe Street pool renovations on November ballot
CARLSBAD — On June 21, Carlsbad City Council approved a ballot measure for the November general election to help fund much-needed renovations to the Monroe Street pool.
The 38-year-old pool has become a hot issue in recent weeks as the facility requires upgrades and maintenance to stay operational and compliant with health and building codes. The city estimates the project will cost between $22 million and $24 million, triggering a citywide vote under Proposition H.
If the ballot measure is successful in November, Proposition H, which requires voter approval for any capital improvement project exceeding $1 million in General Fund costs, gives the council authority to spend the money, although it does not compel the body to act.
The city’s last Prop H vote was in 2016 when residents approved the reconstruction of Fire Station 2 in La Costa.
The project includes the expansion and modernization of the Monroe Street swimming pool with equipment similar to that of the Alga Norte Aquatic Center. In March, Kyle Lancaster, director of parks and recreation, outlined plans to widen the pool to 33 meters, install new shade structures, replace tiles and plaster and install solar panels, among other upgrades.
In January 2021, the council selected the most comprehensive renovation option, which was also favored by residents who took part in an online survey.
The discussion quickly shifted to ballot language, particularly in anticipation of further inflation or a deeper national recession.
“The estimate provided by staff was conservative,” City Manager Scott Chadwick said. “In eight or nine months it could be a radically different stage.”
The council approved keeping it “up to par” with current estimates, although Mayor Matt Hall urged the council to scrap the language in case project costs skyrocket, forcing the city to go back to voters for a new one. approval to offset the excess cost.
“We’re in an economy where we don’t know what we can or can’t do,” Hall said.
Lancaster said the cost estimate for the project prior to the Jan. 26 meeting was between $20 million and $21 million, but the city consultant recommended increasing the estimate to $22 million and $24 million. The goal is to complete the project by 2026.
The board also discussed the ballot measurement strategy. Hall suggested adding the Carlsbad South Shore Project, or Linear Park, to the ballot. However, Hall’s motion to add the item to a future agenda for consideration by ballot was defeated, 3-2.
Councilman Keith Blackburn, who voted in favor of the motion, said he thought including the South Carlsbad Coastal Project on the ballot would likely give the pool the best chance of being approved in the city scale.
Councilor Priya Bhat-Patel said she would be more comfortable with a list of options regarding other potential targets or large-scale capital projects.
“It’s about being strategic about what we want to put in there,” Bhat-Patel said. “We will add costs to it.”
The council declined to submit the ballot measure to the June 7 primary ballot, opting instead for a strategic planning process to prioritize the city’s capital projects.
According to city staff, the ballot text for the November general election must be submitted Aug. 12 to the San Diego County Registrar of Electors. The arguments for and against the measure must be presented by noon on August 18. The Registrar of Electors estimates the measure will cost between $65,000 and $95,000 to place on the ballot. Savings from the current city budget will be carried over to cover costs.
In addition, the council approved a resolution to consolidate the city election with the statewide general election. The Clerk’s Office has released the dates for this year’s election filing period, which covers races for mayor, city council, treasurer and clerk.
The city’s ballot measure to move clerk to a position hired by city manager failed in the June 7 election by a 51-49 margin.
Either way, the period opens at 8 a.m. on July 18 and ends at 5 p.m. on August 12. If an incumbent does not file nomination papers, which covers Mayor, District 3 (Bhat-Patel) and Treasurer (Craig Lindholm), the filing period will be extended until 5 p.m. on August 17.
Currently, Blackburn is a candidate for mayor, while Bhat-Patel is challenged in D3. In D1, Melanie Burkholder, Tracy Carmichael and Sam Ward announced their campaigns. No candidate has yet emerged for the position of clerk or treasurer.