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Parks and rec commissioners OK increases in Marble Falls city pool fees

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls Parks and Recreation commissioners voted to increase entrance and party fees at the city pool during their regular meeting Feb. 2.

During the discussion, Commissioner Leta Stevenson-Smith said if the admission fees were too high for her family, she would buy a plastic pool, put it in her backyard and have just as much fun.

After commissioners decided on the new fees, Stevenson-Smith lowered her head slightly and thought for a few seconds.

“I think I can swing that,” she said.

The new admission fees are:

  • $2.50 per child 3-12 years old, up from $2
  • $4 for teens and adults, up from $3
  • $100 for a family pass, up from $90

The discounted rates are $40 for 20 children and $64 for 20 adults and/or teens, which is a 20 percent discount

The new party fees are:

  • $100 for 1-25 people or $4 per person, up from $60
  • $120 for 26-50 people, up from $80
  • $140 for 51-75 people, up from $100
  • $160 for 76-100 people, up from $120
  • $180 for 101-125 people, up from $140

Commissioners voted unanimously to increase the admission fees. Commissioner William Hurst abstained during the vote to raise the pool party fees, while the other five commissioners voted for the increases.

Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss said those who already reserved pool parties for 2014 will not be charged the increase.

Bylaws allowed commissioners to raise fees without getting approval by the city council, Moss said.

“Sixty dollars strikes me as low,” Commissioner Mark McCary said of the old pool party fee. “Going from sixty, eighty to a hundred dollars doesn’t strike me as being that big of a leap.”

Martha Montoya, who is the coach of the Marble Falls Tsunami swim team, was asked her opinion.

“I think $100 is not a significant increase,” she said of the new pool party fee for up to 25 people. “People will still want to rent the pool privately. That’s a great price for our pool because it has a kid area and adult area.”

“My assessment is it’s a supply and demand,” Moss said. “Historically, we do have 85-plus parties a year. When you go from sixty to a hundred, it will displace people who can’t pay the hundred. It’s hard to say we’ll recover that this year. That’s based on my experience.”

Moss said the majority of the pool parties are hosted by non-Marble Falls residents.

Stevenson-Smith suggested offering a discount to residents. Moss said because so many citizens who live outside Marble Falls have a 78654 ZIP code, they believe they should get the discounted rate.

“You have to have them present a utility bill,” he said. “It’s a burden to our customers.”

Moss said the reason for the increase in fees is because of the cost of lifeguards. For every 25 attendees, a lifeguard must be on duty, according to city operational policy.

New lights, a new diving board and a water slide will be installed in addition to getting new railing and addressing the needs of the pump room. The projected cost was at $72,000. But because staff will keep the base of the diving board and buy a slide, the savings is projected to be $4,000, Moss said.

“To recover the maintenance and operation,” Chairman David Rhodes said, “that should be the ultimate driver.”

That’s $65,000.

Moss said the pool brings in $45,000 annually that goes into the general fund.

At the meeting, commissioners also:

  • were reminded they have a workshop with the city council at 4 p.m. Feb. 4 in the council chambers, 800 Third St.;
  • welcomed Charles Watkins as the newest commissioner;
  • honored outgoing commissioner Bob Fallis with a plaque for his years of service;
  • were told to mark their calendars for a ribbon-cutting of the hike-and bike-trail that will occur simultaneously at Lakeside and Westside parks March 1 at noon. Refreshments and healthy items will be offered;
  • were told the Marble Falls Public Library is handling the T-shirt drawing for the Spring Break 2014 shirts and were given a preliminary schedule of events for that week, which is March 10-14;
  • and voted to keep Rhodes as chairman and Manley as vice chairman.

jfierro@thepicayune.com