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Sistersville Council weighs pool options

By Staff | Jul 10, 2013

Sistersville City Pool

Concerns regarding city pool revenue were addressed and discussed at the July 8 Sistersville Council meeting. Recorder Julie Schleier presented council members with a detailed budget report comparing expenses with revenue. Particular attention was paid to the month of June, in which the city pool paid over $8,000 in payroll alone and took in $2,500.

“We’ve never been in the positive at the swimming pool,” said Mayor David Fox. “Neither has any city. I’ve talked to multiple cities. You’re always at a loss, but it doesn’t have to be this kind of a loss.”

He also cited why he felt there was an increase in negative numbers.

“We don’t charge enough money, number one, and number two, I think there are too many people working at the same time,” he said. “The issue is not how many you have. It’s how many you work at one time.”

A possibility he presented was closing off particular sections of the pool at certain times in order to subtract from the number of lifeguards required to be on duty. He also expressed that a possible increase to $5 a day for swimming would help to bridge the gap in losses.

“You can’t stay at $3 a day and have your swimming pool survive,” he said. “If it was my business, one of two things would happen. I’d either charge more money or shut it down.”

“Then you’d have to shut it down,” said Councilman Richard Long, who oversees the running of the pool. “People can’t afford five bucks to swim every day.”

“You’ve got to do something,” said Mayor Fox. “Look at the numbers. This is crushing us. I don’t see where $5 is that much a day. Where can you get a babysitter all day for $5?”

“It will never happen in this town,” said Councilman Long.

City Commissioner Daniel Grimes addressed conflicts that arise when losses at the pool begin cutting into general funds.

“I’m not able to spend the money in other areas,” he said.

Other possible reasons for decreased revenue were mentioned, such as poor weather and the number of people from Tyler County swimming instead at Pleasants County. This was reportedly the first breakdown of city pool numbers in years. A decrease in payroll is expected for the coming month.

As citizens in attendance weighed in, other options for the pool were discussed, including: aerobics for the elderly, swim classes, and adult swims in the evenings.

“We can try anything,” said Mayor Fox. “If it works, do it. If it doesn’t work and you lose money, get rid of it.”

Since the meeting, it was resolved to hold an adult swim on July 16, from 7-9 p.m. The cost will be $3 per person.

Price changes discussed, if implemented, would not come about until next summer’s pool season.

Tim Meeks of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council (MOVRC) presented a drawdown resolution with three invoices for the Hanford City Sewer Project: Kanawha Stone, the contractor on the project, for $94, 871.61; S&S Engineers, for $30,000; and MOVRC, for $4,251.73. The total amount was $129,123.34. The council made a motion to accept the drawdown reports.

President Connie Boyd, Secretary Barbara Vincent, and Board Member Terry Wiley of the Sistersville Planning Commission were in attendance to submit their annual budget as well as discuss possible future projects in which they would like to assist.

They proposed painting the roof of the large shelter and repairing the roof of the stage in the park, placing letters reading “Welcome to Sistersville” along the side of the pool fence facing the highway and setting dates for zoning readings. They also asked for estimates concerning particular projects, and Vincent relayed that those who set off the fireworks at Picnic in the Park on July 7 complimented Sistersville’s police and fire departments.

In other news, the council approved the city’s annual $1,000 donation to the Sistersville Community Service Organization, to go toward the cost of fireworks, and Mayor Fox to sign a resolution to attain grant funds for the ferryboat; the June 29 catfish tournament established as a fundraiser for the Tyler Consolidated Silver Knight varsity football team was deemed successful, with Kenny Templeton turning in a catch of 27.9 pounds and 40.75 inches long; minutes were approved for the June 10 regular meeting, as well as for the June 18 special meeting; and city bills were paid.