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Surprise!  It’s “what the people wanted”!
Posted: 06 January 2014 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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“... many of them within walking distance of City Park.”  And… they’re residents of Manhattan.  They are paying the property tax to make up the pool revenue shortfall.  It would still be interesting to know how many of The Marlins actually live in Manhattan and their families pay those same property taxes. 

Ms. Nuss, I simply do not believe this has anything to do with who might use the pool.  If it did, there would have been a concentrated effort to keep the pools open through Labor Day.  Again, that was a poor choice of excuse by Wynn to justify continued coddling of The Marlins.  If any folks were allowed to utilize the pool during off hours, there would be a cost… a cost The Marlins have never paid. 

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Posted: 06 January 2014 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Larry, I agree with you that fundamentally this doesn’t have anything to do with who would use the pools but rather catering to the needs of the Marlins.  I just wanted to be sure that inaccurate assertions don’t stand without a response.

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Posted: 07 January 2014 06:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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We have a Parks & Rec Department who…
1.)  Doesn’t bank anything for facilities depreciations and, when a local pool is deemed unrepairable, coerces the public to vote for funding a new facility through added taxes.
2.)  Won’t keep the new pool open through the warmest part of the summer to maximuze use by those paying for it.
3.)  Allows one private, privileged group to utilize the pool at no cost while charging ALL other groups.
4.)  Hands e-mail and contact lists of P&R customers to a PRIVATE group for survey purposes.
5.)  Supports that PRIVATE group when they want tax money to fund a $54 million upgrade to existing facilites.
6.)  Presents fee structure for pool use that results in an even larger revenue short-fall that will be funded through additional property tax.
7.)  While requesting additional property tax for reduced revenue, still does not propose any fees for a single PRIVATE group’s use of the pool.
8.)  Enters the daycare business, subsidized by tax dollars, and in direct competition to existing small businesses.
9.)  Supports installation of a retractable cover over City Park Pool so it can be used year-round.  Can’t staff it for the public a full 90 days, but thinks constructing a cover so the pool can be used by a PRIVATE group at no cost 12 months is a good move.

And the City Commission can’t understand why people don’t just fall all over themselves in support of removing the Memorial stage for new P&R offices!!!????!!!!

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Posted: 07 January 2014 08:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Here is the data on the Marlins swim team as discussed and provided to the City Commission during out coordination meeting at 5:30 PM on Tuesday 7 January:
Update on pool use, fees paid by the Marlins Swim Team

1. This year they used the pool at 5:30 AM.  The pool use was in conjunction with the maintenance time, so the City crews are cleaning one end.
2. The Marlins were charged for the time.  It looks like they paid $4800 in fees.
3. When they use the pool for a meet they are also charged at a rate of $2.00 a person.
4. The idea of the Marlins helping with the life guard problem, did not pan out.
5. No other groups are or have request the time slots used by the Marlins.  The staff is not aware of any conflict in use.
6. All time between 5:30 AM and pool normal hour opening time is filled or used by various groups – swim lessons etc.

What is the plan for the Marlins use of the pool this year?  That will be negotiated with Parks and Recreation.  They will continue to pay a fee for use of the pool for both practice and meets.  It appears as though the Marlins wish to schedule a 3 day meet this summer.  That event would result in the city pool being closed, but it is not yet approved.  Second point on the meet is the cost that would be charged.  The idea is that if the pool is closed for an entire swim day, then the cost that is normally gained from admission that day should be the charge for each day of the meet.  Practice times, meet times and charges are all the responsibility of Parks and Recreation Staff.  P&R will charge the swim team for facilities use this summer just like last summer.

So based on what I heard tonight the Marlins are paying a fee that covers the cost of the two guards and the supervisor that are present during practice.  Covering those cost is the standard for the fees.  The staff did not have any data that demonstrated that any formal group wanted to schedule the pool at 5:30 AM.  The early times up to 1 PM are for group type events.  It looks like all of the groups have been accommodated.  It appears as though the Marlins are being treated the same as other groups and I can see not evidence that they got preferential treatment in 2013.  It looks the same for 2014.  Prior toe 2013, this issue of no fees was valid.  I believe that has been corrected.   

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Posted: 07 January 2014 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Larry:  A comment on your list:
We have a Parks & Rec Department who…
1.)  Doesn’t bank anything for facilities depreciations and, when a local pool is deemed unrepairable, coerces the public to vote for funding a new facility through added taxes.
The voter approved tax to build the pools has some excess funds that could be programed for use in long term maintenance.  The budget for P&R is not totally under the directors control.  The buck stops at the Commission.  The Commission could setup and demand a depreciation fund.

2.)  Won’t keep the new pool open through the warmest part of the summer to maximize use by those paying for it.
I partially agree with this one.  But it is not so much will not keep the pools open and more about the inability to get lifeguard for that time period.  That inability goes back to budget.  If you pay more you can hire the lifeguards.  Keeping the pool open longer means more tax subsidy.  You either have to raise up fees to use, or spend more tax dollars on support.  I would like to see the pools open longer hours and longer in the season. 

3.)  Allows one private, privileged group to utilize the pool at no cost while charging ALL other groups.
The Marlins are charged, just like other groups.

4.)  Hands e-mail and contact lists of P&R customers to a PRIVATE group for survey purposes.
I am not sure the details on this one.  I do not agree with handing out email and contact list to private groups.  I am not sure what or who was involved in the process.

5.)  Supports that PRIVATE group when they want tax money to fund a $54 million upgrade to existing facilities
I am not sure that the P&R director supports the Field House project.  He does support the concept that the city facilities could be upgraded.  I tend to agree with the fact that the facilities could use upgrade.  We need a CIP plan for that.  The Capital Improvement Plan must however be in line with the budget and it cannot happen overnight.
6.)  Presents fee structure for pool use that results in an even larger revenue short-fall that will be funded through additional property tax.
The buck on this one stops at the City Commission.  The fee structure presented was the result of guidance from the Commission.  The Commission as a whole voted for the structure.  The reason was to make the pool more affordable for the citizens.  The structure change may result in more revenue or less.  Worse case the shortfall will be taken from the general fund.  But that does not mean more property tax. It does mean that the pools will not operate as break even.  So the subsidy must come from someplace else.  A matter of priorities, we can fund this without raising property tax. It is all about allocation of the funds we have.  If it came to the determination that we needed to raise property tax to run the pools, I would cast a negative vote.

7.)  While requesting additional property tax for reduced revenue, still does not propose any fees for a single PRIVATE group’s use of the pool.
The Marlins pay a fee as of 2013.

8.)  Enters the daycare business, subsidized by tax dollars, and in direct competition to existing small businesses.
I was never in favor of the Day Care Business.  It came about as part of the vote for the Zoo Education Building.  The concept on that building included a day care facility.  The voters passed the bond issue to build the facility.  I was not aware of the fine print, but it included the use of the facility or at least a part of it for day care.  The Commission had a chance to change it and vote to not implement. It passed on a 3-2 vote as the majority believed the voters voted for and knew about the Day Care concept.  The previous director at the time said that the Day Care run by the city would pay for itself and if the facility did not break even it would be shut down.  So this is not a P&R effort.  It is a voter effort and a Commission effort.  Will monitor the Day Care numbers and cost this year as it will complete a year of operation when we get to the 2015 budget cycle sometime this summer.

9.)  Supports installation of a retractable cover over City Park Pool so it can be used year-round.  Can’t staff it for the public a full 90 days, but thinks constructing a cover so the pool can be used by a PRIVATE group at no cost 12 months is a good move.
I am not sure the P&R staff support the cover idea.  It could be funded with the current bond that the voters approved for the pool construction.  The reason is that the revenue from the tax is higher than projected.  So the excess can be used for maintenance or for additions.  In any case it has to be used for the pools in some fashion; it maybe could be used to cover the operation cost or subsidy.  Some folks in town would like a year round swim facility and a cover would provide that upgraded.  But it would incur operation cost and full time life guards.  Upgrade of the pool would be a CIP effort or something that could be put to a vote.  The voters did not approve the indoor facility concept last time around.
And the City Commission can’t understand why people don’t just fall all over themselves in support of removing the Memorial stage for new P&R offices!!!????!!!!
The issue of the offices will get resolved- options, proposals and costs are being outlined.  Bottom line is that P&R will maybe finally get out of their 30 year temporary offices.  It may or may not involve the stage and or basketball courts, those are secondary issues. The data though still shows that basketball courts are used more than the stage.  I do not think the folks that want to save the stage are against the idea of P&R offices or are anti-basketball.  They just believe that the stage should have a higher priority than basketball courts or the P&R offices.  If we could finance all three, there would not be a problem. The problem is limited funds, and what are the priorities ….answer sometime in March.

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Posted: 08 January 2014 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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AWESOME!!!!  How long did it take to get a straight answer on this??!!??  Sheesh!  I really don’t like the wording “It looks like they paid…”  Are the payments by The Marlins not recorded on a line item where the Commission can see the actual data.  However, it is good to see that the changes were made in 2013 and, hopefully, will continue forward.  Thank you for the information!!!!

As to #8 in the second response…  The voters were coerced into approving the pool sales tax referendum.  At that time, we had a Commission that could restrain themselves from spending any amount of money they wanted to.  City Park Pool had been closed and deemed unusable.  So, the City Commission was up front that, if the sales tax referendum did not pass, they would move forward with the pool replacement and we would see it on property tax.  The voters were left with two choices.  One… vote for the pool paid for by sales tax and have those from across the region shopping here assist with the cost, or Two… vote against the sales tax and see our already high property taxes go up even ore to pay for a new pool.  Knowing/assuming the voters being residents of the City would opt for the sales tax option, items for Sunset Zoo and other pool modifications were tacked on to the ballot issue.  Yes, I don’t believe anyone actually understood we were voting for a child care facility.  We were voting for the issue to see the pool paid for by sales tax rather than property tax.
This is quite similar to many of the bills run through Congress.  Elected representatives suggest a bill will do “X”.  Once passed, we find money for “Y” and “Z” were tagged onto the original bill.

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Posted: 08 January 2014 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Uh-huh.  “$4800”.. “apparently”...

“Quick, we need to show some income from the Marlins using the pool as their private facility!” 
“Well, let’s see.  There was the concession money from the swim meets.  Then there was the 2 dollar entrance fees for the spectators… let’s say , oh, $5000?”
“Too round a number”
“OK,.. 4800?”

5:30 to..?, Wynn.  Swim practices take more than a minute.

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Posted: 10 January 2014 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Randall:  I ask the question concerning fees paid by the Marlins.  I have provided the information.  I used the word apparently paid $4800 because the City Staff told me they collect $4800 to cover the cost of the staff that was present during the practice sessions.  I said apparently because I personally did not collect the money and I have not audited the books.  I trust the material that was provided in open meeting.  So let me amend the comment since the word apparently seems to be a detractor.  The Marlins paid $4800 to use the pool as a practice facility.  They also got charged $2.00 a head for people at the swim meets.  Those are the facts, the Marlins paid fees in 2013 and will pay fees in 2014.  If the amount is not adequate, that can of course be discussed.  Bring up the fee structure to the Parks and Recreation Department, The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and feel free to send email to the Five City Commissioners.

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Posted: 10 January 2014 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Wynn, you say they pay for the staff that baby-sits them, but not for the facility.  They’re still using it as their private facility.  Do they determine when to hold meets?  Exactly.

Also, the Marlins didn’t “use the pool” at 5:30 AM for a single second or minute.  They own it beyond 5:30 am.  How long? 

Also, you continue to refuse to address the issue of INDIVIDUAL citizens buying lap-swim passes for the off hours.  Why is that?

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Posted: 10 January 2014 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Clearly the Marlins swim for more the minute.  The practices last for an hour or more depends on the date.  The city staffs the facility and charges the Marlins for use, that is what is done for all groups.  The data shows a payment of $4800 for that use, split the hairs anyway you like.  They City sets the fees based open the cost of the people that must be present when you use the facility – it is a blanket charge and not broken down into facility charge and lifeguard charge. 

We do not have an open swim policy for the early morning hours or a pass for that purpose.  Pool maintenance is conducted at the same time that the Marlins use the pool, those early morning hours.  Various other groups use the pool at times between 6:30 and the open swim period.  A schedule of times and groups is maintained by Parks and Recreation.  That is sufficient for me.  No data exists to indicate that anyone wants to use the facility at that time the Marlin’s practice.  No conflict of interest is evident. 

We had a number of study session about pool use and the idea of off hours lap swim passes never surfaced.  To my knowledge you are the only person that has raised this issue, please bring it to the attention of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.  If a number of folks want to buy passes to swim at 5:30 AM it will be considered and maybe implemented.  Hope to see you at the pool for zero dark thirty swims.

Bottom line here is that the Marlins are being treated like every other group and the pools are being properly managed.  The processes in place are sound.  But like all processes, they can be changed, updated and made better.  A number of significant improvements (in pool rates, use, hours, procedures)  were put in place for 2014. Those improvements were recommended by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, discussed, modified to some extend and final approved by the Commission.  An analysis of the data obtained in 2014 will provide additional process improvements and tweaks. 

The Marlins’ request the practice times and the meet times.  Parks and Recreation establishes fees, cost and determines if the Marlin’s are granted the requested times.  They swim team dictates nothing - it is a contractual agreement between P&R and the swim group.  It does not appear to me to be a problem, at least from 2013 on.  The process has been made better.  The pools are being properly managed by P&R in accordance with the published guidance and the intent of the Commission.

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Posted: 10 January 2014 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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One hour swim practice!  That’s amazing.  Love to see the schedule, Wynn.  Other groups, what they’re charged, that sort of thing.  Would that be on the city site somewhere? 

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Posted: 12 January 2014 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Randall:  Feel free to check with parks and recreation on the pool schedule for this year. I do not believe every aspect of the schedule has been finalized.  They will have the details on open swim hours, rental requests and programed parks and recreation events at a future date.  The city web site does have a Parks and Recreation page.  The page covers most information that you may need.  Anything not covered can be addressed by using the email links to those that are in charge of implementing the guidance.  Parks and Rec has been provided the intent and guidance and I trust that they will in fact succeed in plan implementation.

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Posted: 13 January 2014 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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That’s charming, Wynn.  Your loyalty and dedication to the P&R, your determination to get them some nice offices from which to reign.

But…

Did you ASK them to come up with a better plan than a quarter million dollar a year loss while closing in the middle of the hottest month of the year?

Or did they just tell you that’s the way it’s going to be?

Who, exactly is driving the boat?

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Posted: 13 January 2014 12:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I do not like the idea that the pools were closed at the end of the year.  That closing is adjusted to the start of school.  I would like to see evening hours when school starts, normal weekend hours and pools staying open until Labor Day.  The stumbling block seems to be the ability to hire life guards and the cost of those life guards.  I expect the P&R staff to come up with a better solution this year.  The pools can be run on a break even basis, but only if we charge around $10 a head admission.  That is not going to fly.  The pools are a core function of the city and as a result will be tax supported to some level.  The Commission as a whole 5-0 approved an adjusted fee schedule for next year. We will see what the data shows.  The subsidy if the weather is bad could be as high as 200K, but that is worst case.  The alternative is to price the pool out of reach for most.  That would of course mean only the Marlins could use the facility.

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