PAYETTE — As Recreation Director Tiffany Weimar aims to improve efficiency of operations at the Payette Public Pool, one significant challenge remains now that the pool is open most of the week: Revenue. The last time admission prices at the pool were increased was in 2011, according to City Clerk Mary Cordova.
In response to the need for additional revenue, Weimar presented her plan to raise prices and simplify pool pass offerings to the Payette City Council during its regular meeting on Monday.
“I know that in 2019, we did add the circuit-breaker … but other than that, general admission, our swim passes and everything haven’t been raised,” said Weimar. “Swim lessons haven’t been raised since 2012.”
A public hearing was held during the meeting, as the proposed increases are significantly more than 5%. Following is a sample of the proposed increases.
• General admission: $5 per adult, $4 per senior age 62 and over, $3 for ages 4-17 and free for children under age 3. The previous price was $3 per person.
• Swimming lessons: $40 per person, $37.50 for each additional family member. Previously, they were $30 and $27.50, respectively. Private lessons increase to $25, up from $10.
• Individual passes: $70 for Payette residents, $100 for all others. Previously, each was $50 and $80, respectively.
• Family passes: $140 per month for Payette families up to four people, $200 for non-resident families. Three-month passes and annual corporate passes would be eliminated.
Presently, lifeguard certification is free to Payette County high school students, $200 for others. To assist with mandatory reporting costs, as officials must report to the American Red Cross every time a new lifeguard is hired, Weimar proposed a $75 fee.
“It doesn’t matter whether they pass or fail … we have to report them,” she said.
No verbal public comments were received during the hearing, but councilors had many comments of their own to share. Council Craig Jensen in particular expressed concern about how the public would react.
“That’s a pretty steep jump,” said Jensen.
“We want to break even, but we don’t want to go down in what we’re doing for pool revenue,” Weimar replied.
Councilors Mike Kee and Ray Wickersham raised concern about reducing base family passes from five family members to four.
“I look at most families, all five of those people aren’t going to come and swim, usually,” said Kee. “If you want to be specific, you can san mom and dad and three kids.”
When asked why she would eliminate the three-month pass, Weimar said the pool loses money as those passes are renewed as compared to monthly passes. Kee recommended offering a yearly pass to keep pool users coming back.
Weimar said she was careful to compare the prices she was proposing against present prices at public swimming pools in Parma and Weiser, and that offering one-month options are more compatible with visitors to the area, especially during summer. She added that the city pays its lifeguards comparable wages to those paid in Oregon due to its proximity to the state line.
Mayor Jeff Williams added that adjusting prices at the pool plays into his aim to improve pool operations overall.
“Tiffany’s been put in a position to make the pool run more efficiently,” said WIlliams.
To allow for the price increases, the council passed Resolution 2021-06 with the intent of assisting with operating costs. Jensen moved to approve the resolution, with base family passes remaining at five family members, seconded by Wickersham. The vote to approve was unanimous, 6-0.
According to page six of the meeting agenda, the new fee schedule takes effect today, July 7, and remain in effect until revised by a subsequent council resolution.