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Greensburg to take over Lynch Field pool, Mt. Odin driving range, youth soccer programs

Jacob Tierney
| Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, 6:09 p.m.
The pool at Thomas Lynch Field in Greensburg, as seen on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
The pool at Thomas Lynch Field in Greensburg, as seen on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.
The pool at Thomas Lynch Field in Greensburg, as seen on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
The pool at Thomas Lynch Field in Greensburg, as seen on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017.

Greensburg's $11.6 million proposed 2018 budget is about $400,000 higher than in 2017, mostly because of changes in the recreation department.

The department will take over operations at Veterans' Memorial Pool at Lynch Field, the driving range at Mt. Odin Golf Course and the annual youth soccer programs, which are managed by third parties.

The extra expense of running the recreation programs will be balanced by the revenue they generate and will not require a tax increase, according to city officials.

The YMCA took over managing the pool in 2014 and the soccer program in 2015. The organization's contract expires Dec. 31.

City officials have several reasons for taking them back, according to recreation director Frank Lehman.

Greensburg is planning a major renovation of the pool, which will start in 2018 or 2019, he said.

Lehman also hopes to boost enrollment in the soccer program by bringing it under the city's control.

“We wanted to take a look at trying to rebuild that program and get the numbers back up,” he said. “I think we had a pretty strong program in the past, and I think we can build off that.”

Fees to join the soccer program will range from $35 to $70 dollars, depending on age, residency and whether a uniform is needed.

A swimming pass will cost $7 for adults and $6 for children and seniors, with season pass options ranging from $100 to $225.

“We think it's going to be a very affordable program,” Lehman said. “Eventually, over the years, we may have to raise them some. But for this year, the fees are going to be very affordable.”

Greensburg YMCA director George O'Brien said the YMCA will continue to partner with the city in different capacities. The Y will continue to use the city pool during its summer camp.

“We are very fortunate to have a partnership with the city,” O'Brien said.

The YMCA will continue to offer its own soccer program, separate from the city program.

At Mt. Odin Golf Course, the city will take over the golf range and concession stand, both of which traditionally have not been directly under Greensburg's control, according to fiscal director Kelsye Milliron.

Police savings

As usual, the city's 27-member police force takes the largest slice of the budget — $4.4 million in 2018. However, that's about $200,000 less than in 2017, largely because the city's mandatory contribution to the police pension fund has dropped, from $1.04 million to about $940,000.

This is the first time the city's police pension contribution has dropped below $1 million since 2014.

The city hired PFM Asset Management of Harrisburg last year to manage the fund, replacing CS McKee Investment Managers of Pittsburgh, in the hopes of reducing police pension costs.

However, the reduced cost is not the result of a new investment strategy but rather a change in how actuaries evaluate the fund, according to Milliron.

Greensburg's property tax rate has remained steady at 25.05 mills since 2009.

In 2018, 17.5 mills will go into the general fund. The remaining 8 mills will go into a separate fund that Greensburg uses to pay down its debt. The city currently owes about $8.5 million.

City council is expected to vote on the budget Dec. 11.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6646 or jtierney@tribweb.com .

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