Grand Marais settles pool standoff

The long-standing dispute between the City of Grand Marais and Burbach Aquatics has been settled. Due to outstanding contract obligations between the city and its former swimming pool architects, Grand Marais was unable to enter into pool discussions with the county’s Community Center Steering Committee. According to Mayor Larry Carlson, that standoff is over.

“It’s a done deal. We can now talk about it. I think some people might be a little bit upset on the final resolution of this problem, but the city through their attorneys have agreed to pay Burbach Aquatics $57,500 and now everything is done and gone away and we can talk about anything we want to.”

Carlson noted that a much larger settlement had been initially suggested by Burbach, but the City’s attorneys think the final figure closely resembles what the cost would have been had the matter gone to court.

Now that legalities have been settled, the city and county can continue the discussion.

“Well, now we’re going to have to decide what we want to do with respect to the pool that’s online there for the community center.”

But Carlson expressed caution and some concerns about assuming the city-county cooperation on the pool is a foregone conclusion. The municipal pool is a losing proposition and the city with some county financial assistance, underwrites the loss.

“I know there’s a lot of people that are considering that if the city is going to commit to that, it in fact amounts to double taxation. We pay taxes as county residents and pay another tax because we’re city residents for what is essentially a county program. So that’s going to be a concern.”

Carlson admits there’s considerable discussion ahead before final decisions are made, but he’s philosophical about it.

“Ahhh, that’s why we have government.”