Bond issue suffers narrow defeat

by nathan oster

The defeat of the proposed sixth-cent, special purpose sales and use tax rendered meaningless the final tally of a Big Horn County School District No. 3 bond question in which district voters were asked whether they would support the construction of a $5.2 million swimming pool.

With no money to operate and maintain the pool, the school district could not have proceeded with the construction of the pool, even if voters had approved the bond issue in Tuesday’s general election.

For the record, it was close.  Very close.

By a 53 to 47 percent margin, or just 90 votes, the bond question went down to defeat.  The final tally showed 718 voters opposing the issuance of the bonds compared to 628 who voted in support of the bond issue.

In Greybull, the bond question failed 535-493.

In Shell, it was 151-105.

In Emblem, there were 28 who voted against, 26 who voted in support.

“It’s disappointing, but I’m glad it was fairly close,” said Sara Schlattmann, a member of the swimming pool committee, a school district employee and — along with Bob Graham — one of the most outspoken supporters of the pool.

“My concern is for the pool itself and its future … but I guess that’s why we go to elections.”

Like Graham, Schlattmann said she doesn’t know if this election will go down as the pool’s last stand.  “I think there are going to be a lot of factors involved,” she said.  “The school district will have to make those decisions.

“Right now, there isn’t a lot of additional money being put in, so the No. 1 thing is, if there’s any kind of a mechanical failure that we can’t afford … I don’t know what will happen.”

Schlattmann noted that the School Facilities Commission has allocated money for the demolition of the pool. “I don’t know how long that money will be available to the district, but my assumption is that as long as the pool is operating, it’ll stick around.  But we are one big expense away (from starting that discussion).”