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Mail-in ballots for a 2019 general election will be distributed to residents of Friend between Oct. 21 and Nov. 2.

On the ballot is a question regarding the future of the Friend City Pool will be listed. 

Entry of the ballot question was officially passed by the Friend City Council at its August meeting and since then, the pool committee has been hard at work to educate the public and look into funding options for the project. 

“Almost every single person we talk to face-to-face supports the project,” committee member Kristen Milton said. “A lot of this will depend on monies available.” 

The committee has been working alongside the Southeast Nebraska Development District to inquire about possible grant and loan options. It has also been planning fundraisers in the community. 

Some of those fundraisers include the upcoming trunk-or-treat Oct. 19.

Committee members said people have been asking about a possible indoor facility to be added to the project and are looking into such options. 

According to the committee, the current city pool is 83 years old and slated to last only two more years. 

“We are looking at getting more community input on the design and structure and fundraising opportunities,” Milton said. 

A 0.5% tax increase ballot question and a bond issue question were also approved by the city council at the August meeting and will be listed on the ballot. 

Milton said if passed, the city council has agreed to allocate 0.3 of the current sales tax revenue to go to a bond payment for the pool. 

The committee hopes to stay in the $2.5 million budget for a bond. 

According to the Friend City Council, both the bond and city sales tax items will have to be voted yes by the majority for the pool project to move forward.

The council will veto the vote if only the bond question passes. If only the sales tax question passes, the 0.5% increase will accumulate until another pool project is attempted. 

The pool committee will host in informational open house Oct. 20 at the Ihde Clubhouse, beginning at 3 p.m.

“If the community votes yes for a new pool, then we are voting yes to the vitality and future of Friend for our kids and grandkids,” Milton said.  

hope@sewardindependent.com

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