Hillsboro approves fee and wage changes for city pool

City Administrator Matt Stiles told the council during their regular meeting on April 19 that the Hillsboro Family Aquatic Center is set to open on Monday, May 30. The hours for the pool should remain the same as in previous years with Monday thru Friday consisting of scheduled activities at the pool in the morning starting at 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. The pool will then open to the public from 1-8 p.m.

Monday thru Friday. On Saturdays the pool sometimes hosts private events, lessons or swim meets in the morning but is open to the public from 1-7 p.m. On Sundays, the pool is open from 2-7 p.m. These hours will continue unchanged according to Stiles.

“The difference from last year to this year is that regular hours for public swim will end on Sunday, August 14. Staffing becomes impossible after that date as lifeguards and other staff return to school,” said Stiles. “Starting on Monday, Aug. 15 until Sept. 4 the pool will only be used for limited events including lap swim times, toddler time and hosting USD 410 PE classes. The first week of school will also have teacher time from 4-5 p.m. Changes in hours due to the staffing should reduce costs by a minimal amount.”

Stiles went on to explain that a large issue is that the current wages offered for lifeguards and concession staff are not competitive.

“The employment shortage has resulted in many entry-level summer jobs jumping in pay. Many of the local employers are paying $10 or more per hour for summer help,” said Stiles.

Currently concessions workers make $7.25 per hour and lifeguards make between $8.25-$8.55 depending on experience. Managers make around $12 per hour depending on experience.

Stiles said, “The pool is an attractive, flexible option for workers, but we are not competitive and will likely lose experienced workers without a pay increase.”

Another large issue is the increase in chemical costs. Acid used at the pool has increased by 27% this year and chlorine tablets have increased 15%.

“Based on last year’s usage we are anticipating chemical costs to increase by $2,700. There are also projected increases in concessions and other consumables, though those are unknown at this point,” said Stiles.

He explained that pools are a public service that are not designed to make money. Last year the pool had expenditures of $119,024.89. That was higher than previous years primarily due to additional

costs incurred from being closed in the 2020 season. The pool had $44,956.25 in revenue split between admissions and concessions. The pool was subsidized by the general fund $74,068.64 in 2021 which is slightly more than anticipated in the budget.

Stiles and his staff recommend increasing temporary summer worker wages by $1 per hour.

“While that does not match the market, it would put the pool and other concession positions in a more competitive position to retain workers. That increase should result in an additional $5,500 in expenses for personnel,” said Stiles.

It was also recommended to increase the costs for annual pool passes. Passes were last raised six years ago. The proposed increases would not impact daily entry fees which would remain at $4.00 and $1.00. The proposed fee changes would be as follows:

Single Season Pass (1 person) from $95 to $110.

Family (up to 8 people by household) from $180 to $210.

Lap Swim Pass (1 person, lap swim only) from $60 to $75.

Caregiver Pass (Non-swimmer) from $30 to $40.

“If the membership remained consistent in 2022, the proposed increases would generate an additional $3,410 in revenue. The price of concessions will also likely be adjusted to help cover

increased costs. Those increases will be minimal but are to be determined,” said Stiles.

Stiles stated that technically, the City Administrator and Pool Manager Cara Duell have the authority to increase pay, but he asked that the Council support that change and hold a formal vote.

The council approved both changes.

In other business, the council:

n learned that the City of Hillsboro was not selected for the BASE Grant program, which would have funded the building of a new fire station. Staff will continue to look at options for funding a public safety building, but this will likely delay construction until some other debt is retired.

n received an update on the Community Plaza Splash Park. The plan is for city crews to install the pad in the next few months. The committee has found that locating some supplies for the project is more difficult than anticipated, but they’ve been able to track down some of what is needed. There should be a more firm timeline soon about the Vogts construction of the restroom facility.

n heard that the fire department has submitted a grant to the Forestry Service to purchase wildland fire turnout gear. The 50/50 grant would be for approximately $5,000.

n learned that Leppke Auction will host a live auction for the City of Hillsboro on Saturday, May 7 from 9 a.m. to Noon. The hope is to hold the auction at the Commercial Building on the Fairgrounds.

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