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5:54 AM Sun, Dec. 16th

Town could raise aquatic center fees

Would eliminate sessions, alter fee schedule

Chino Valley Aquatic Center is asking to raise prices because of recent minimum wages rates going up. (Review file photo)

Chino Valley Aquatic Center is asking to raise prices because of recent minimum wages rates going up. (Review file photo)

Chino Valley town staff is recommending Town Council raise the aquatic center fees, said Community Services Director Scott Bruner at last week’s council meeting.

On Tuesday, Feb. 12, the council voted to give notice of its intention to raise the town’s aquatic center fees, something which hasn’t been done since 2012, Bruner said.

“The Town of Chino Valley last reviewed its aquatic center rates on Oct. 23, 2012,” he said. “Since the aquatic center opened, the town’s general fund has subsidized the operation of the facility each year. It loses money. The average subsidy is $150,000.”

Six years ago, the minimum wage was at $7.65 per hour, and voters approved an increase to $10 per hour last year, Bruner said. In January the minimum wage was raised to $10.50 per hour and will reach $12 per hour by 2020, he said. As a result, to keep the town’s subsidy of the aquatic center from increasing each year, staff recommends a gradual increase in the center’s fees, to coincide with minimum-wage increases, Bruner said.

The current rates for admission are $1 for children ages 0-5, $2.50 for children ages 6 to 17, $3.50 for adults ages 18-54, $3 for seniors 55 and older and a $12.5 family rate. The planned change would remove all admission fees for children ages 0 to 2 but increase to $3 the admission fee for children ages 3 to 17. Under the proposed plan, admission would cost $4 for ages 18-54, $3 for seniors 55 and older and $14 for the family rate.

The changes would help pay for capital repairs to the facility, Bruner said. There have been a number of repairs of the years, he said.

“Over the last several years, the town has replaced the aquatic center roof, the pool pump heater, chlorine unit, pool sweeper, resurfaced the parking lot, and then next year, the slide needs to be resurfaced and painted,” Bruner said, “the showers and offices as well.”

Not only is staff recommending raising the rates, and the hopes are to eliminate the pool sessions, Bruner said. Currently, after two and a half hours, the pool closes for an hour and reopens, but with the sessions eliminated, swimmers won’t be kicked out and forced to repay for admission after the first two and a half hours, he said.

“If you want to spend five hours in the pool, have at it,” Bruner said. “It’s all yours.”

The idea to eliminate the sessions came after citizens voiced complaints, he said. They also voiced objections to parents having to pay a fee to bring their baby when bringing their older kids swimming, as well as grandparents having to pay a fee just to take their grandchildren swimming, Bruner said.

Those were good points, he said. In response, the new fee schedule eliminates entry fees for children ages 0 to 2, and colored wristbands will be issued for parents and grandparents who are there only to take their kids to the pool, Bruner said.

The idea to eliminate the sessions received positive response from the council. Councilwoman Annie Lane said she knows families will be happy to know there won’t be any more sessions, and Mayor Darryl Croft said he was happy reading over the proposal.

“I heard a lot of the same things,” Croft said.