"It's a money hole (Salem city pool) when it's at its very best, and it always will be," Salem Mayor Gary Clayton told the council at their meeting April 16. "If we raise the rate to where it makes a little (money) the kids wouldn't be able to go, and that's what it is for."
Angie Rains attended the council meeting to answer questions about the pool and its budget. Rains managed the pool the last two summers and will be returning this summer.
The council questioned why the pool went $5,000 over the budget last summer. Rains informed them that the pool was assigned a new health inspector last year who told her that there had to be two life guards on duty if there were 30 or more swimmers which forced her to increase her payroll budget.
"He came in and told me if he catches us with less than two guards and more than 30 swimmers he was shutting us down for 30 days," she said.
The council then went on to discuss closing the pool two days a week instead of just one day. The pool is already closed on Monday and Rains told the council that Sunday is a slow day. The council all agreed to close the pool on Sunday and Monday.
The rate to get into the pool is $1.50, which Rains told the council she would rather not change this year due to the recession. The rate for private parties is $60 for four hours. The council agreed that the rate for parties needed to be increased. After hearing the rates of surrounding area pools the council agreed on $80 for four hours of pool time for private parties.
The last issue discussed about the pool was the date private parties should stop being booked. In the past two years the pool has continued to book parties after it has closed for the season, which is not a problem according to the council. The council agreed to allow this until Labor Day with an increased rate of $100 per four hours of pool time. Rains told the council her first year she booked 18 parties after pool season and last year there were 29.
Mayor Clayton explained to the council why the general expense exceeded the income by $11,000. "I think most of it was spent on clean-up (ice storm debris)," he said. "We will start to see that come back in as FEMA starts to reimburse us."
Clayton said a little over $8,000 of the $11,000 was used for payroll on clean-up and the remainder on equipment. The city has set up a separate operating account so clean-up funds can be tracked. Clayton said as the city starts to be reimbursed the funds will go into that account first and then be appropriated to the other accounts.
He also told the council that the city is finishing up the paper work for their first reimbursement from FEMA and should receive the money in the next couple of weeks. The first reimbursement covers the first four to five days which was the emergency stage. "This is when we were out clearing roads and doing what we had to," Clayton said.
He informed the council that although FEMA had agreed to pay for the ice storm in stages, the state will not pay their 12.5 percent until the entire project is closed out.
The first round of clean-up is finished and the second round started. The council estimated that the second round should be finished within a couple of weeks and then a couple more weeks to trim the hazardous hanging limbs. "So it will take about another month to close out the project," Clayton said.
So far the money spent on payroll for temporary employees on the clean-up crews and the money spent on equipment has brought the cost of the clean-up to around $40,000. "I think the hourly rate we'll get for all equipment that has to be used will put us in good shape," Clayton said.
When it comes to getting rid of the storm debris, the city has found a company that will chip the debris for $4.80 per cubic yard. The catch is they want $67.50 per truck load to haul off the chips. Clayton asked why the chips can't be placed at the compost station where people can come and get them for free. The council said they would check into it but they think FEMA requires it all to be gone to consider the project finished.
"We met with FEMA a week or so back and they were extremely complimentary in the job Bill (Worsham) and his crew has done and the way the office staff has kept up with the paper work," Clayton told the council.
Clayton told the council that he had checked into a warning siren system for the city as discussed by the council at one point. He said he found a possible source of funding that would be 75/25. He said he also asked the same source about funding for a dump truck.
"I'd rather, at this point, not go on with any of this until we start to see some money come back in," Clayton told the council. "At least until FEMA starts to reimburse us." The council agreed.