- Special Sections
- Public Notices
I have noticed an absence of factual presentations regarding the upcoming $3 million bond election for a new leisure swimming pool, so I read the county’s feasibility study.
The total cost of the pool will be $6.1 million, or slightly more than $2,000 per square foot of pool area.
Although limited by land area, the designers conceived an attractive facility to compensate for the cold tomb-like qualities of the existing Olympic-size pool. However, some practical questions remain.
The bond is $3 million, but I conclude the continuing subsidy for operating costs will make the cost of the bond look small.
The leisure facility will provide approximately 8,500 square feet of new floor space surrounding a warm pool of 2,950 square feet, approximately one-fourth the area of the existing pool.
In county surveys, the two largest requests were for a warm activity pool and for a warm 25-yard lap pool.
The proposed leisure pool can be warm, but it would offer at best a very cramped lap-type swimming. It’s mainly for the kids.
The annual operating cost of the existing Olympic pool is $1.13 million, of which 30 percent is provided by user fees.
Every year, the taxpayers subsidize the remaining 70 percent, which is $795,000.
The new leisure pool will require an additional $285,000 for annual operating costs.
The feasibility study predicts that this facility will generate $339,000 in new revenue, thereby supposedly reducing the subsidy for the combined pools by approximately $54,000.
I think this estimate is unrealistic for the following reasons:
The feasibility study expects revenues for the existing pool to remain the same, including its current yearly sale of 16,000 passes of various types.
The leisure pool is expected to sell an additional 12,000 passes, including 2,500 new daily adult passes, 1,200 new daily senior passes, 4,000 new daily youth passes, 500 new annual youth passes, 500 new three-month youth passes, and 1,000 new adult punch passes.
Instead, I suspect that many of the adults, seniors, and youth who now purchase passes to the existing pool will simply utilize the new pool without buying more passes.
The new leisure pool may generate happier customers, but not so much new revenue as forecast.
As with the existing pool, it seems reasonable to expect the new revenue from the leisure pool to meet about 30 percent of its operating costs, leaving approximately $200,000 as its annual taxpayer subsidy, in addition to its capital cost.
That would bring the total yearly operating subsidy for both pools to approximately $1 million, or about $130 per household.
The operating subsidy would be in addition to the property taxes for the bond.