Effective Oct. 1, annual membership rates at the Powell Aquatic Center will increase by $25. The new rates for individual annual memberships will be $200 for adults, $150 for seniors and $125 for youth (ages 3-21). Family and corporate membership …
Call it the ripple effect. Now into its second year of operations and with an anticipated budget deficit of roughly $275,000, the Powell Aquatic Center is raising its annual membership rate fees, but daily swimming rates will remain the same.
Effective Oct. 1, annual membership rates at the Powell Aquatic Center will increase by $25. The new rates for individual annual memberships will be $200 for adults, $150 for seniors and $125 for youth (ages 3-21). Family and corporate membership rates also will increase by $25.
“It comes out to an additional $2.08 per month,” said Carrie Parmer, city aquatics director. “Which is still less than a daily pass.”
Fees for daily passes ($4 for adults and $3 for kids and seniors) and punch-pass rates will stay the same.
Third parties who use the aquatic center, including the school district, Powell Swim Club and others, also will see usage rates increase Oct. 1.
The school district’s contract is increasing by just under $14,000 this year, bringing the total to about $80,000. The approved contract, which runs through July 1, 2012, covers everything from Powell High School and middle school swim meets to practices and physical education classes.
During its regular meeting Monday night, the Powell City Council is slated to consider the city’s contract with the Powell Swim Club.
“We have such an amazing facility, and we need to pay to keep it that way. What we found is everyone who utilizes the pool needed to pay a little bit more,” Parmer said.
Parmer said most members have been understanding about the $25 hike in annual fees.
“A lot of them realize we have a great product for a reasonable price, even with the increase,” she said.
Usage of the facility continues to climb.
Currently, the pool has 879 annual members and 623 punch-pass holders, demonstrating steady growth, Parmer said.
Over the summer, between the last day of school in May and the first day in August, 8,015 day passes were sold, Parmer said.
An average summer day drew 157 swimmers, while the busiest day for the fiscal year so far was July 6 with 597 guests.
“We also had 16 days where we had over 200 guests in the pool over the summer. And another three in September,” she said. “Our busiest day in September was just this Monday (Sept. 26) with 540 guests.”
When the city staff set the original membership rates prior to the facility’s May 2010 opening, they essentially were starting from scratch.
Parmer researched rates at comparable aquatic facilities in the region, but city staff wasn’t sure how much the new aquatic center would cost to operate when they established rates.
Now, with a full year of usage numbers and operating costs, the city is increasing membership rates to better align with actual expenses.
“We looked at what it’s actually costing us to operate the facility during those hours,” Parmer said, noting the facility is open to the public about 90 hours per week.
Parmer said the rate increases will help curb the pool’s budget deficit.
“We tried to keep rate increases straight across the board, as well as cut where we could,” Parmer said.
For example, Parmer said the staff has looked at ways to cut in numerous areas including software, concessions, education, training and other costs, since some programs involve more travel expenses.
“We’re more selective in what we do,” she said, adding that lifeguards will still go through the same certification and training process.
The aquatic center staff also has brainstormed more ways to promote the facility and attract new swimmers.
The center’s first-ever Family Day will be Saturday, Oct. 8, when the entire family can swim for $10.
Beginning in October, the center will host a night for scuba divers on the first Friday of every month and for kayakers on the second and fourth Friday each month.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, swimmers who bring a non-perishable food item for Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes will get in free for the day.
“We wanted to give back to the community, because they’ve been so good to us,” Parmer said. She encouraged residents to find that extra can of vegetables on the back shelf or other non-perishable food item and use it to come swim for free.
Park County voters approved a 1-cent tax to provide $9 million for the city-owned Powell Aquatic Center in November 2006. The project also received funding from several other sources.
Construction of the $10.3 million aquatic center began in the fall of 2008, and an eight-lane pool, along with a continuous river and leisure pool, opened in May 2010.
For more information about the membership rates increase, visit www.powellaquatics.com or call 754-0639.