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Swimming Trumps Social Services
Posted: 27 November 2012 07:53 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The Parks & Rec will give their annual report on swimming pools this afternoon in the Commission Work Session.  If you pull up the memo, the P&R want to cut the hours of pool operation while increasing staff costs $60,000/year.  There is significant reference, in the memo, to the life guard staff ‘wearing out’ in the heat. 

We argue over $3,000 for UFM scholarships.  We suggest social services need “prioritized” and only those “vital to the City” should be funded.  Watch.  Adding $60,000 to the swimming pool budget won’t even get scrutinized.  And, The Marlins will continue to use almost 5,000 admission equivalencies/year free of any cost.  Hand swim teams free pool passes that would be worth well over $10,000.  Hand another $60,000 to pool staff so the lifeguards don’t “get too much sun”.  Cut social services because they aren’t as “vital” as is swimming.  The less fortunate of our community may go without coats this winter, but we know the children of those better off financially will be able to swim next summer… free if they join The Marlins.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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When I was a yout, I was a lifeguard.  I got paid for lying in the sun.  It was not possible for me to get too much sun in those days.  I actually got paid to get a great tan.  I think there might have been two occasions when I had to jump in and get someone.  What sort of wimpy lifeguards do we have here?

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Posted: 28 November 2012 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Sheesh!  From last night’s meeting….

1.  Shortfalls of well over $100,000 are okay for the swimming pools.  In fact, the commissions were in favor of an even larger shortfall if the pools could be kept open until Labor Day.  There appears to be no limit to the tax dollars we will toss at recreation.  We must, however, eliminate assitance to the less fortunate of the community.

2.  Some excellent discussion re The Marlins.  This is a private entity with an annual budget of over $100,000.  The University charges The Marlins for using the natatorium and, in fact, raised that rental cost from $16,000/year to $20,000/year.  The City charges private/touring teams for use of basketball courts and baseball fields.  Yet, The Marlins expect to use the City Pool at no cost.  City staff is concerned about the liability exposure having a private group in the pool with no City supervision.  P&R is recommending staffing during The Marlins pool use times and charging for that staffing cost.  It seemed there was support amongst the commissioners for assessing costs to The Marlins.  Yet, no action was taken or recommended.  The Commission told P&R to “handle it”, since it appears to be too hot of a politcial potato.  Evidently too many kids of the political/socially connected are members of The Marlins.  One of the commissioners stated he had been a member and, IIRC, his kids are/were members.  Political patranization does exist in Manhattan, KS.

Hopefully, some of last nights discussion will be recorded and played back during the 2014 budget discussion re funding of social services.

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Posted: 28 November 2012 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Politics at it’s best (worse). . . .
What became of the people telling all of those against the larger pool that the swim team would do the life guard work in exchange for the free use of a larger pool? After all only they were qualified to float on water and allowed to use tax payer’s properties at no cost. I remember some of those kids and parents being rather “rude” on this site over those discussions. Got their cookie now they are leaving us high and dry? Thanks

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Posted: 28 November 2012 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dave… P&R had indicated they would work it out with The Marlins for “in kind” life guarding to pay for the pool use.  That, evidently, went nowhere.  The lady who spoke, last night, on behalf of the Marlins was amazing!!  She told of those poor kids practicing between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. “when it’s too cold for anyone else to use the pool”.  Wow!  The humanity!  It almost sounded as if someone should file child abuse charges against those forcing swimming at an early hour.  What the heck does her poor kids swimming during the cooler part of the day have to do with tax dollars??? 

The Marlins issue has, and always will be, political.  Too many “socially connected” people are part of the Marlins entourage.  Past commissions and this commission… none have the spine to stand up against those social elites.  It’s far easier to condemn support for the disadvantage citizens than to expect the “well positioned” to pay their fair share of a recreational club’s pool use.  Those affected by defunding of social assistance programs don’t cry as loudly as those who could well afford to pay for pool use.  The tears from those in need, however, are real… not forced by privelege.

The commissioners who speak loudest against “entitlements” will be the first to make certain the entitlements of the elite are maintained.

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Posted: 28 November 2012 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Well said Larry yet after a life time of Manhappiness and the elitists I am tired of paying for others to use at no cost what some cannot afford to use. It’s time for that nonsense to end at all levels.
On another pool issue I heard late last summer some chatter about closing the pool because it was “too hot”. Are you kidding me? What kind of a foolish statement was that anyway? So let’s close the restaurant because I am too full.

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Posted: 28 November 2012 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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As I said before….swimmers who don’t like the sun, should find another sport.

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Posted: 28 November 2012 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I had to chuckle at the P&R person, last night, who talked about the summer heat.  Said he would spend half an hour in the heat and be completely exhausted.  The heat was used as an excuse why many of the lifeguards had not finished the season or would not be returning this coming season.  Certainly, the heat was wearing.  I’m 66 years old and worked outside in that heat every day.  I worked beside crews of people ranging in age from the mid 20s to the upper 50s.  They all worked hard during that extreme heat… because that was the job they committed to do.

It’s a sad testament to the work ethic being instilled into today’s generations if sitting under an umbrella at a swimming pool is “too strenuous” for the our coddled kids.

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Posted: 28 November 2012 02:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Now, Larry,
Let’s not be judgmental.  These children have been told that the sun is bad for them.  It will give them cancer and hives and the measles, and God knows what else….worse than smoking.  Of course, I am still alive and used to smoke while I was in my lifeguard stand.  I had no umbrella…I shunned the umbrella because it would block the sun and I wouldn’t get the tan I wanted and….most importantly, I wouldn’t have gotten that date with Tish Darlington, who only dated deeply tanned boys…she was the other lifeguard.

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Posted: 28 November 2012 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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By the way, there was an old flood story in the Bible.  Here is what happened.  God made the sun for tanning.  Many folks decided that tanning was bad.  It caused cancer and indigestion and all sorts of other things.  So, the people stopped lying in the sun.  And God said “Well fine.  If you don’t like the sun then try this.”
Now there was a guy named Noah.  He would lie in the sun every day…in his speedo’s…God decided to spare him.  For the wimps, he made a big batch of rain, and, the rest is history.

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Posted: 28 November 2012 02:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The work ethic of today’s young men and women is a topic for another thread that more than likely would cause some discomfort for most because of the content.
As for the P&R person talking about the stress of out of doors activities in the summer months being too hot and grueling only tells me the wrong people must be in a position of leadership and one that person does not belong in. So why would a person join a jogging club if they do not like to jog? Why join a baking club if you do not like baking and mixing foods? Why in the world be in a park and recreation leadership/advisory capacity if you do not like activities in and OUT OF DOORS? They wanted things this way and memory tells me they were to take care of the lifeguard issue for the use. So . . . . belly-up and get the job done. Stop the whimpering or pay a fee so the funds are there for the costs of the lifeguards. There problem solved, and now go find a new leader to lead this one is all lead out.

Funny Hadley

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Posted: 28 November 2012 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The discussion last night on the pools resulted in some general guidance to the staff, but as it was not a legislative session so no real decisions were reached.  The idea of the Marlin’s paying fees for use of the pool during the early hours is not a dead issue, but the 6 AM to 8 AM time frame is not one that is in high demand.  The city will end up having to put staff in place during that time frame, and the Marlin’s will end up having to pay some fee.  The swim team does pay fees when they conduct swim meets.  Should they be charged the same sort of rates that they pay to KSU for use of those facilities is a good question and warrants further review. 

As for the pool subsidy and the life guards – the citizens voted to build the pools.  I would assume that everyone that voted for the pools expected them to stay open during the summer.  Parks and Recreation – the pools are core city functions.  The Parks and Recreation staff was tasked with the concept of keeping at least one pool open through Labor Day.  At the same time they were ask to find more lifeguards and keep the subsidy of the pools as low as possible.  This may be a mission impossible. Maybe higher fees will need to be charged. 

Larry makes the point about social services and UFM.  UFM and Social Services are not core city functions.  Second the outside agencies that are not city core functions received over 400K in city subsidies last year, much more than the pools.  The city does provide reduced cost admission for the needy at the pools, sort of a social service?  UFM by the way got $19,000 for the Special Alcohol Program in addition to the SSAB funds.  The pools may always require some subsidy.  Just like SSAB might require some subsidy.  I am for reducing both if possible.  And yes I am for elimination of UFM from SSAB support, priority to the pools, not UFM. 

Details of the budget for Social Services:

SSAB: Big Brother/Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Club, Crisis Center, Homecare & Hospice, Kansas Legal Services, KSU Child Development Center, Manhattan Emergency Shelter, Shepherd’s Crossing, CASA, UFM—$354,925 dollars from the General Fund.

Special Alcohol Programs: Big Brother/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, Manhattan Emergency Shelter, CASA and UFM receive support from both funds. Other agencies support by the Special Alcohol fund were – KSU Drug Education Service, Pawnee Mental Health, Riley City Youth Court, Riley County Community Corrections – Juvenile, Riley County Community Corrections-Adult, The Restoration Center, and USD 383. $429,566 generated from the Liquor Drink tax.

The total government support of SSSAB agencies will be $354,925 from the General Fund and $116,223 from the Drink tax. Grand total of $471,158.

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Posted: 29 November 2012 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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“The pools may always require some subsidy.”  Fair enough, because apparently the public pools are a core city function.  How about public transportation?  Is public transportation a core city function, and could it be OK if it might always require some subsidy?

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Posted: 29 November 2012 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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That’s just silly, Kathy.  Everyone knows that swimming pools are a basic service to the community.  Without them we could not exist.  Public transportation, on the other hand, is a frivolity…like planting trees in the middle of Poyntz….wait a minute…let me get back to you on this.  I think I’d better think it out again.

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Posted: 29 November 2012 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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More important to stick a “way finder” on a chunk of concrete in the middle of the road, or how about the OZ scare crow with a sign that says. . .”If I only had a brain”. . .  pointing to city hall?

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Posted: 29 November 2012 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I also like the inuendo that since the pool renovation sales tax referendum passed, the majority of the people approve of the pool subsidy.  Wait!!!  Someone is attempting to rewrite history.  The City Commission, at that time, told us we had it one of two ways.  They promised the pool issue would go forward.  The ONLY choice the people were given was how it would be paid for.  If the sales tax issue had failed, the City Commission told us our property taxes would go up to cover the cost.  So, we were left with the choice of having the cost spread over those who shop in Manhattan vs. those who live in Manhattan.  Many of us who voted for the sales tax referendum to fund the pools didn’t necessarily want the pools renovated to the extent of the cost.  But, we had no choice but to support it or see our property taxes raised.

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