Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2006

New pool’s popularity exceeding projections

June 15, 2006

After just two weeks of operation, De Soto's new swimming pool is closing in on its 2006 revenue projections.

De Soto City Administrator Pat Guilfoyle said the De Soto Family Aquatic Center took in $62,434 as of June 8. The pool was budgeted to earn $88,195 for the season.

"It's a good start," Guilfoyle said.

The total does include $33,129 in pool memberships, many of which were sold before the pool opened. The city budgeted $37,100 in membership sales.

The advanced sales may skew the year-to-date revenue picture, but daily attendance has been robust. Guilfolye's report shows the pool made $2,666 in daily admissions in four days of operation in May and $5,169 in the first eight days of June. Put another way, the pool made about 25 percent of its projected 2006 daily admission revenue the first 12 days after opening.

Concession sales were equally as strong. Again as of June 8, the pool has made $4,521 in concession sales. It was projected the pool would make $13,000 from that source this season.

During the campaign for the bond that built the pool, it was estimated operational and maintenance costs would outstrip revenue from $7,000 to $62,000 to operate and maintain the pool. Guilfoyle said it was too early to pin down what total expenditures would be, but didn't rule out a possibility the pool would end in the red for the season, especially in the first year when the pool's newness should be an advantage to the bottom line.

"Maintenance should be minimal because everything is still under warranty," he said.

The pool's success is good news for city taxpayers, Guilfoyle said. The more money the pool makes, the less the city will have to subsidize its operation from property and sales taxes, Guilfoyle said. And if the pool actually makes a profit, that money can be used to help service the annual debt payment, which would otherwise have to be made up through the same tax sources, he said.

That reality explains the policy of charging admittance to the pool to all who enter, regardless of whether they plan to swim.

De Soto Parks and Recreation director Jay Garvin said at his recommendation the De Soto City Council approved a "facility's fee" for the pool rather than a swimming fee. The policy is unpopular with some seniors who come to see grandchildren with no intention of swimming, he conceded.

"It was my recommendation and I'll stand by it," Garvin said. "I guarantee you if we let people in who said they weren't going swimming, the next thing we know is we'd see them in the pool."

During a brief discussion of the policy at the June 1 city council meeting, Mayor Dave Anderson said the policy might be reconsidered before next season.

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