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Rate hikes could be on way at local pool

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

The hot topic of the night was the city swimming pool and possible changes in services to slow the amount of money the Platte City Parks Department loses every year by operating the recreation facility located a block north of city hall.

A number of parents showed up at the meeting to express their concerns over rumors the parks board would eliminate the swimming lessons program.

“We are just looking at the numbers now,” said John Kurtz, board president. “We may adjust the rates, or have fewer classes. I think eliminating (the program) is not our direction.”

According to Dannie Stamper, parks director, the swim lesson program took in $11,905 last year and cost $14,508, leaving a deficit of $2,603. Stamper suggested that if the rate were increased to $45 from the current $35 per child, then the program would take in $15,300 and actually make about $800 for the department.

Stamper said the YMCA charges $70 per child for swimming lessons.

The swimming pool operation had $19,000 more in expenses than revenue in 2008.

Lynn Crowley, pool manager, said that 50 to 75 percent of the kids in swimming lessons are then the daily attendance numbers.

Swimming lessons are held in the morning before noon and the pool opens to everyone after noon.

Jerry Keuhn, board member, pointed out that the labor cost for lifeguards increased from $24,777 in 2006 to $47,309 in 2008, while the actual attendance at the pool decreased by 300 people.

Crowley said the increase was because of the American Red Cross increasing their standards for the number of lifeguards required at the pool.

Jason Metten, city administrator, said the city is okay with the pool losing money.

“It is like a rail line or zoo,” said Metten. Metten said it is a service the city offers to the citizens.
“At what point is too much?” asked Ron Porter, board member, about the expenditures.

The board did not take action to change the rates charged for the swimming lessons or for the season passes to the pool. The board will consider increases at the February meeting on Monday, Feb. 2.

The board did approve a new measure to allow coaches of sports teams to have one child play for free on a city team. Stamper said the measure is to help attract more people to be coaches for teams in the city.

Coaches will still have to submit to a background check in order to be considered, but will be able to have one child play for free for the team being coached.

The board approved the measure with a vote of 5-0.

At the last meeting, Joe Searcy, board member, submitted his resignation beginning after the February meeting. There are currently only five members on the nine member board.

In order to hold a meeting, the board must have more than 50 percent of board members present. If the board does not get another member immediately after Searcy's last meeting, there will only be four members on the board and it would not be able to hold meetings.



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