Meadville Tribune

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June 29, 2013

Tax hike included in approved Crawford Central budget

(Continued)

MEADVILLE — Supporting the MARC

Area resident and businessman Doug Lang, who chairs the CAT committee, told the Tribune Friday afternoon that discussions about specific aspects of the district’s support for the MARC are still ongoing.

“When you add all the parts of the ‘spend’ up, because some are direct payments to the MARC and some are not, basically it’s a number that allows fourth-graders to be taught to swim and gives the MASH swim team a competitive pool to swim in during the competitive season,” Lang said.

One of the first tasks of the CAT committee was to conduct a fiscal audit of MARC operations.

“We don’t see a whole lot of operational deficiencies in our analysis,” Lang said Friday. “We see the MARC as a reasonably well-run operation.

“The skating rink is in the black,” he continued. “The summer pool is financially fine. The issue, frankly, is what it takes to operate the pool in the wintertime, which is when the swimmers have to compete. There aren’t a lot of other local swimming programs to share the cost, and keeping the pool open in the winter is expensive.”

That, however, isn’t the only topic of interest to CAT.

“We need time to generate other revenue services — and time to look at the biomass,” Lang said. A biomass burner designed to generate a portion of the heat used by Crawford County Career & Technical Center and Meadville Area middle and senior high schools as well as the MARC was installed in recent years.

“Now that we’ve stabilized things, we can get on with trying to market the MARC to the community,” Lang said, “which should lessen the financial burden on all the community — and figuring out how to make the biomass work right.

“I feel confident with all the people on one side of the picnic table instead of on opposite sides of the conference tables, that this community with these two boards can make permanent improvement,” Lang said. “We’ve gotten over the tough part. The CAT team challenged these boards to show leadership — and the team wants to say, ‘Congratulations! You’ve shown leadership — and we commend both boards.’ This hasn’t been an easy thing to put back together and both boards deserve that credit.”

Crawford Central School Board will meet for a combined monthly meeting and work session July 29 at 7 p.m. in the district’s instructional support center in Vernon Township.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

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