Souderton ready to dive into pool season

In this 2015 file photo, Souderton Borough employees install a railing next to the handicapped access ramp as they ready the community pool for its scheduled opening on May 23. 

SOUDERTON — Details are still being worked out, but borough officials are expecting Souderton Community Pool to be open this year after being closed last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think our assumption is going to be that we will certainly be opening the pool," Borough Manager Mike Coll said at the Feb. 15 Souderton Borough Council work session meeting.

"I'm not 100 percent sure when our opening day will be, but we are looking for a summer season and have it run through the end of August," Coll said in a follow-up telephone interview.

Instead of the normal Memorial Day opening, "we may delay for a couple weeks and look at opening day coinciding with the end of the school year," he said.

The borough plans to have a management services agreement under which a third party will provide managers and lifeguards and oversee the daily operations at the pool, he said. The borough will continue to do pool maintenance, including for the filtering system, he said.

The borough also plans to lease out the concession stand, he said.

In another matter at the meeting, the council discussed whether the borough should change engineering firms following the December arrest of three former executives of Boucher & James, the borough's longtime engineering firm.

The three are accused of overbilling more than 100 clients by $2.1 million between 2009 and 2018, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro said when the arrests were announced.

In January, Souderton Borough Council was told by the firm's new CEO that those involved in the thefts are no longer with the firm and changes have been made to make sure the fraud cannot happen again.

At the Feb. 15 meeting, the council decided to get proposals from engineering companies to do the borough's general engineering, along with asking for proposals specifically for the engineering of the planned new Public Works facility at Cherry Lane and Souderton-Hatfield Pike.

"We'll compare what responses we get to our current arrangement with Boucher & James and then decide how we're going to proceed," Coll said in the telephone interview.

"They're still the borough engineer of record and we are going to continue to utilize their services on projects that they are fully engaged in rather than paying to replicate the work through another firm," he said.

If the borough decides to make a change for future work, though, he said, "we have to find where that break point should be."

Under a settlement agreement between the Office of Attorney General and Boucher & James, the company is repaying more than $851,000 to clients for overbilling dating back to the beginning of 2015. Souderton received $11,000 from that, Coll said in January.

Investigators, however, put the amount Souderton had been overbilled between 2009 and 2018 at $77,782.

The borough will have its solicitor look into the possibility of what further action, if any, should be taken to attempt to recover additional money, Coll said.  

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