Thursday, May 27, 2010

Which costs more: summer-only or structure?

The Herald's Josh Morgan and the WRAs Lauresha Xhihani both covered the public hearing on the pool.

From the Herald:

Others inquired about the possibility of making the pool a summer-only facility and the costs of such an operation. According to members on the pool subcommittee, a summer only facility would actually cost more money to run than utilizing the OpenAire structure. The lost revenue for being closed eight months out of the year, winterization of the pool and extra money the swim teams would have to pay to rent other facilities would result in approximately $100,000 more annually, the committee stated.

The committee put in a lot of effort on this. I appreciate their efforts and am glad that we now have an opportunity to move past the bubble. But there's a flaw in the assertion that a summer-only facility would cost more than a pool structure:

It's based on staff's fuzzy math.

Sure, it's entirely possible that a new structure would generate more users - increasing revenue and reducing the drain on taxpayers. And I think the committee offered reasonable revenue projections. But the notion that all of staff's hypothetical expenses related to a summer-only facility must be covered is nonsense. And it's those "necessary" expenses that are used to justify a summer-only facility costing more than the proposed structure.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Your statement that the math is "fuzzy" and the committee information is not correct, I feel is inaccurate. The committee was charged with reviewing two proposals only. The committee was no responsible to make the decision, but only make professional reccommendations.
The committee did not review a summer only pool and did not review a Bubble II as they were not directed to by the entire council.
A summer only pool may not be more than a new structure, or it may be. You need to factor in the entire picture - not a shortsided thought. The existing facility would need to have renovations to the concrete wall (New doors, etc) to allow for a 4-season exposure. The facility would only be operating for 4-6 months at the most. For the remainder it would be sitting idle, but would need to be maintained. The pool itself would need to be drained each year and then protected. This is not the same situation as installing a pool cover on your house pool. As many know, a pool cover is not manufacturered for the size of pool that we have, so something would have to be engineered for the pool in order to protect during the winter months. Then the cost of "opening" would have to be factored in.
So the shortsided fact is that it may be cheaper, but what about the loss revenue from swim meets which I heard was over $ 50K.

tim white said...

I know the committee had a charge. And they fulfilled it. I thank them for their effort.

However, the Council failed to complete the circle by allowing nonsense numbers from staff to stand as reality.

I don't see any future Council voting to budget for a 12 months per year pool position, if the pool is open for only the summer. So the expenses are inflated, making the structure look like a better financial option.

I don't take issue with the pool committee. My concerns are with the Council and paid staff... not the pool committee volunteers.