A forthcoming decision by the Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors may decide whether or not the City of Oakdale decides to keep the Royce Memorial Pool open or to close it for the summer.
Danelle Stylos, the city’s planning director who is overseeing the pool operations, gave a presentation to the OID board at the May 3 regular meeting asking for $71,500 in funding to keep the pool open for public swim and to continue to offer water safety and water conservation programs. She said that the city wants to take the burden of the pool off the general fund so that money could be freed up for public safety and other city needs.
She said that the money, in part, will pay for the heating of the pool throughout the year – offsetting costs for clubs and other organizations to use it. The utility costs for the pool are approximately $3,000 per month for four months, totaling about $12,000.
Director Herman Doornenbal commented that he thinks the swim clubs should pay their own way. He added that he feels OID shouldn’t subsidize anything beyond public swim because anything beyond that isn’t what OID intended in the first place when it provided funding for the past two years.
“I think these swim clubs should be funding themselves,” he said, adding that if need be, the clubs should pay more for use.
Director Jack Alpers added that he, too, wants to see that the OID funding for the swim program is for public safety, not for swim teams.
Currently, the pool is slated to be open for two months during the summer for the general public and the rest of the year it is rented to clubs and organizations. Director Steve Webb asked why the pool wasn’t slated to be open in August, as that is the hottest month of the year. He said it didn’t make sense to have the pool open for the summer for only two months, as closing it in August doesn’t work for the purpose OID intended – helping to keep people out of canals and ditches in the summer. Stylos agreed but said that because school starts prior to the end of summer, the lifeguards, who are high school students, are in school. Webb added that the city should think outside the box on lifeguards, if that’s the case. Stylos added that they are looking into having the pool open to the public on the weekends in August and possibly even for a time in September. She also said that they can’t have the pool open on weekday evenings during that time because of the contracts with the clubs that will be using it then.
Director Frank Clark asked if the pool could be used as a senior therapeutic pool and suggested that the city look into having the pool serve as a therapeutic pool because a considerable amount of funding would be available through Medicare and other avenues.
Acting City Manager Mike Botto told the directors that at a meeting with council members, the city staff recommendation will be that unless funding from OID comes through then the city should close the pool for this summer. He said it costs about $93,000 to operate the pool annually. The money to cover that cost comes from the OID contribution and user revenues. This funding request is for July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012. The city currently still has funding in place from OID from the district’s prior contribution.
OID General Manager Steve Knell noted that the OID gets “great value out of the publicity from the banner” at the pool. He also said that primarily economically deprived kids use the pool and that for $1 they can swim there.
No action was taken at the OID meeting, as the item was only on the agenda as discussion. The item will likely be on the action calendar for the May 17 regular meeting.
In reports, director Alpers discussed items that will be on the upcoming Tri-Dam agenda. He said that they will be taking a look on a future agenda at raising fees at Tulloch because they’re not covering overhead and the fees haven’t been raised in 10 years.
The next regular meeting of the OID board will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 17 in the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.