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Pool among Carlsbad’s priorities for year

CARLSBAD — Residents might get the long-awaited swim complex in Alga Norte Park if City Council is able to fulfill one of its top priorities for the upcoming year.
The park was one of the top priorities for three of the five city council members when they met March 3 at the city’s water district office for a daylong goal-setting workshop.
The annual workshop is held to discuss goals for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.
“Every year it is a little different,“ City Manager Lisa Hildabrand said. “But given the economy, they (City Council) didn’t really add any new projects. Most of the projects they talked about were already under way.”
The cost for the Alga Norte Park swim complex was estimated at $32.7 million when it was discussed by the council last year, so council asked Hildabrand to direct staff to obtain a new cost estimate. The money has already been set aside and approved by the voters.
Mayor Bud Lewis said although he supports building the park, because of the economic climate, the swim complex should be eliminated from the plans for now.
Councilman Mark Packard said he supported building the complex at some point, but listed improving traffic conditions, cutting city expenses and revising the city budget as his top three priorities for the upcoming year.
The majority of the council members also listed improving traffic conditions and budget cutting measures.
Lewis listed the proposed public safety training center as one of his top priorities. The facility, for both the police and fire training, also includes a shooting range for the police officers to take the place of the one lost during construction of the city golf course.
The cost of the training facility is projected to be $24 million; however, Lewis said it will help improve the safety for all residents and that the swim complex would only be used for a small minority of the residents in the city.
Hildabrand said the city will now take the list of goals and priorities the council wants staff to work on, break it down internally and put a price tag on each item.
Then in May, City Council will once again look at the goals for the projected year while taking into consideration its costs and the annual budget.
The city has estimated the budget for the upcoming fiscal year to reflect $116.1 million in revenue and $113 million in costs. Revenue from sales tax is projected to be down, due to the economy, but city officials have said the city of Carlsbad is financially sound.