Council to weigh remedies for pools' red ink

December 09, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

The Columbia Council will discuss tonight a committee's recommendations on how to stem a $1.5 million annual operating deficit by improving operations and attendance at the unincorporated city's 21 neighborhood pools.

The pools are accumulating a yearly deficit once interest, depreciation and administrative costs are included. Income from the city's property charge -- 73 cents per $100 of assessed property value -- covers the shortfall.

A citizens committee, chaired by Councilman Roy T. Lyons, presented its report to the council Nov. 11. The committee's recommendations include:

* Designating one pool on each side of Route 29 that has low attendance for use exclusively by adult swimmers.

* Aggressively marketing nonresident memberships to families living in areas surrounding Columbia.

* Expanding the pool rental program aimed at to groups and businesses to include evening hours, and improving food and beverage services.

* Developing a master plan for improving all of the city's pool facilities.

The committee also recommended ways to ensure that health and safety standards are met and several minor changes for the summer swim leagues.

The committee was charged with finding ways to increase attendance and revenues at the pools at rates affordable to residents without increasing the property assessment to subsidize the facilities.

The council, which acts as Columbia's board of directors, sets policy and the budget for the nonprofit Columbia Association, which manages Columbia's recreational facilities, community programs and open spaces.

The 10-member council -- which includes one representative from each Columbia village -- has the authority to develop new policies for pool operations.

Today's meeting will begin at 8 p.m. at the Columbia Association Building, 10221 Wincopin Circle.

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