In an effort to cut costs, Walbridge is offering non-residents the use of its pool this summer at a discounted fee to help cover costs to operate the pool.
Walbridge Mayor Dan Wilczynski wrote letters to the mayors of Northwood, Millbury, Rossford, and the president of the board of trustees in Lake Township to inform them that he would open up the membership and daily admission to the village pool to neighboring towns.
“If we can double our membership and daily admission fees, we can operate at a net zero cost,” he said in the letter.
“In rethinking how we all operate and in hopes of moving other items of each of our operations to a more regional approach, we would like to offer several options to you and your councils for your collective support,” he continued. “With your support, we will make this offer available to your residents in the same manner that we do with the Walbridge residents.”
Wilczynski offers two options: Residents from neighboring communities would only have to pay $125 for the season or $2 per day if their local government contributes $2,000 to the pool’s operating budget; residents from neighboring communities would pay $175 per season or $3 per day admission without their government’s $2,000 contribution. The village usually charges non-residents $250 per season or $5 per day to use the pool, which is located near Meadow Lane.
Walbridge residents are charged $100 membership for the season.
Wilczynski told The Press that it costs $40,000 to operate the pool. After taking into account the $23,000 revenue received from memberships, daily fees and food concessions, the village’s actual expense is $17,000 to run the pool.
Memberships over the years have dropped, he said, due to demographics.
“Memberships have been declining over the years. I don’t know all the reasons for that. Probably the economy is part of it, and just the demographics of Walbridge – residents getting older and less children in town. That goes up and down. And we’re at the high end of that right now,” he said.
Wilczynski said the village has opened the pool to non-residents for the last two years, but the fees were higher.
“Consequently, we got zero non-resident members,” he said. “They may be coming as daily members, but we have no way of checking that.”
Wilczynski believes the rates are reasonable.
“If we have a 90 degree plus summer, like we had a couple of summers ago, I would jump at it,” he said.
The pool, which the village has operated for the last nine years, is open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Northwood officials said the city will be unable to contribute $2,000. They prefer the village’s second option, which allows non-residents to pay $175 per season or $3 per day admission. The city has been engulfed in budget cuts since last year due to lower income tax collections as a result of the recession.
“We’re not going to put out $2,000 to pay for them to go,” Councilwoman Connie Hughes said at a committee of the whole meeting on April 2.
“I think we’ll have to go with option 2,” said Councilman James Barton.
“To be honest, if they want to join for the year, $175 is a good deal,” said Barton. “And if they want to pay $3 every time they go over there is also a good deal.”
Northwood will post the information on its Web site at http://www.ci.northwood.oh.us/.