Rec dept. ordered to change pool rate

By Corene Brisendine

City commissioners told Parks and Recreation administrators Tuesday to reinstate wristbands and charge parents a nominal fee for the remainder of the pool season.

The directives, coming at a work session on the pool, followed complaints from adults regarding new policies imposed at pools this year requiring them to pay to supervise their children who were swimming.

Deputy city manager Jason Hilgers told commissioners it would be difficult to implement any rate changes during this swimming season, and recommended the city wait until next year to change how people were charged to enter the pool.

Commissioners rebuked that line of action and agreed that staff could issue the wristbands, even though some people abused the policy by trading them or giving them to others to enter the pool. The idea behind the wristbands is to allow swimmers to leave the pool and return on the same day.

Hilgers said the department could create a family pass next year that would eliminate the problem of people leaving and returning on the same day, as well as address the other concern residents had with adults going to the pool only to watch their small children in the water.

Commissioners were concerned with only parents of children accompanying children, but Hilgers asked how pool staff should address youth groups, accompanied by adults who were not parents wanting to enter the pool.  He said it would force the cashiers to make a judgment on whether the adult would actually swim.

Commissioners agreed that for the remainder of the swim season, if an adult is accompanying a child, they should be charged a nominal fee to enter the pool whether that adult is the parent or a youth leader. They also agreed that creating a family pass next year will eliminate all confusion and youth groups would be charged standard rates while family pass holders would receive a significant discount whether parents swim or not.

They agreed that charging parents or adults $1 would be an equitable compromise for the remainder of the swim season.

Commissioners also agreed to address rate changes and family passes in the fall after the pools close for the season to determine how much they should charge next year.

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