Commentary: Mixing Pool and Roads in Parcel Tax a Recipe For Disaster

TPothole-stock.jpguesday night’s study session revealed an interesting divergence of opinion on what the parcel tax should be. Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk, backed by members from the aquatic and swimming community, strongly pushed to include a $10 million 50-meter pool complex in the potential fall parcel tax.

However, Brett Lee was adamantly against funding the pool now, and the rest of the council saw roads as the first and foremost priority.

“I do believe that the funding of a pool is critical,” Dan Wolk would argue. “I think it’s clear that, just as with our roads, the longer we wait on that the greater our cost becomes in terms of our band aid measures that we’ll have to put on the pools.”

“It’s clear that we’re going to have to invest $7 million on these to refurbish civic and community (pool),” he added. “There’s a strong argument to make… that we really need to re-invest in our parks facilities and specifically our community pool. I think that’s really critical to the heart of this community as much as anything. I think this is a community that is willing to support that – even at a two-thirds level.”

Councilmember Brett Lee suggested that, while the city is looking at a November revenue measure, he might be interested in addressing the pool in the spring. He suggested that would give them time to make the case to the broader community about the benefits of the pool.

He would argue, “It’s nice to split the need to have versus nice to have. Road and sidewalk – need to have. Swimming pool upgraded facility – that’s a nice to have.”

Dan Wolk would strongly differ.

“Obviously the roads and bike (paths) and sidewalks are need to have items,” the Mayor Pro Tem stated. “I guess I just don’t see our pools as sort of these niceties that we have in our community. I see them as critical infrastructure. I’m just trying to imagine a community that lacks a civic pool and a community pool.”

The response to this debate on the Vanguard has been overwhelmingly against the idea of putting the pools in with the roads. The problem is that, with the city in fiscal crisis, the city has to prioritize and distinguish critical projects from expensive luxuries.

From a policy standpoint, it is difficult amid concerns with crumbling parks infrastructure and still unassessed building infrastructure, to put money into pools.

The idea that a $10 million capital project is going to pay for itself in any short-term horizon defies logic. The reason the city closed the Community Pool was not just the repair needs but the inability to pay for basic maintenance costs.

There are political calculations here, as well. The city recognizes it needs to perform a heavy lift to get the parcel tax from the 58% approval level of the Measure O sales tax in June to the two-thirds threshold.

As much as Jose Granda fundamentally does not understand the city’s finances, he is spot on when he notes that it will be difficult for the city to increase the performance of the sales tax passage from June.

From Dan Wolk’s thinking, including the pool brings in a new base of support for the parcel tax. You have the 500 people in the aquatics community – the parents and other participants in recreational swimming. With all of that you not only have a voting base of support but a group of people with a vested interest in getting out the vote.

But there is a strong downside to that the analysis. The presence of the pool in the list of projects on a parcel tax will undermine the city’s strongest argument that this is an emergency measure to deal with the critical needs of roads.

Bob Dunning, Jose Granda and many of the commenters who posted on yesterday’s article, will be able to argue that the presence of the pool on the parcel tax means that this is just a wish list. That notion was amplified yesterday by the frequent question as to why there was an extensive wish list of luxury rather than essential needs included.

The answer is that the city wanted a sort of complete assessment of needs, even if it ends up voting down most of them.

So, the inclusion of the pools is a double-edge sword – you may expand the volunteer base and the constituency by including pools now, but I think the downside risk is too great.

In addition to giving the critics an issue to absolutely hammer the city on week after week, it also necessarily increases the costs.

Between the analysis we had on Tuesday about the threshold for road repair projects in a given frame of time, Mark Northcross’ discussion about useful life of the roads, and the various funding mechanisms, it is clear that it will be very difficult to get enough money in so that the city can properly bond the road repairs and improve the road conditions from 57 PCI to 63 PCI over a 20-year period.

We have a strong and compelling argument.

We don’t often agree with DCEA President Dave Owen, but everyone who watched the meeting has said that he really nailed it.

“Pin it to the pavement,” he stated. “All your dream list, that’s real nice, but it will die on the vine when you take it to the vote. The pavement is basic infrastructure… people use it every day.”

“Unless you’re walking around in a daze, you know that your streets and sidewalks, in many areas in town, suck. That’s just how it is,” he added in colorful language we don’t often hear at council meetings, but the point resonates with the public.

It is an easy sell – the pavement, as Bob Clarke noted, is on the verge of deteriorating into poor condition and only if we step up now will we avoid far worse deferred maintenance costs.

No need to water down the argument. No need to overly complicate it. This is a message that can sell and everyone can get.

If you add pools to the mix, you lose that argument and then it becomes just another issue that the city is not being honest with the public on. We have enough of that to worry about. Keep this one simple and clean.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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72 Comments

  1. Michael Harrington

    I like adding the community pool repairs. It’s shut down. That is an emergency. It’s the pool closest to the poor and middle class families in central Davis.

    I would wait for another day on the other pools but I think the City’s failure to maintain OUR community pool is appalling.

    I agree with Dan Wolk as to the Community Pool. Add just that pool and it will help the roads tax.

    Also, I thought Dan Wolks phrase Renew Davis was brilliant. It implies a plan, and would be a terrific slogan and call to arms for his Mayorship.

  2. Tia Will

    “The presence of the pool in the list of projects on a parcel tax will undermine the city’s strongest argument that this is an emergency measure to deal with the critical needs of roads.”

    I feel that this argument implies that the citizens of Davis cannot do two things at the same time, in this case contemplate the value of pools not as luxuries but as essentials for our community, while driving. Within two years,
    maintenance of any except the main arterial roads for deliveries will not be critical for me personally. This does not mean that I cannot see that for many in our community the roads are critical.

    Likewise, I would hope that those who do not personally utilize the pools would be able to appreciate that for children, the pools represent likely the only route to learning fundamental swimming and water safety, for older children, they may represent their primary means of recreation and exercise leading to life long habits of healthy living, for adults also, the pools may be their primary source of exercise ( just as biking is for others), and for our seniors many of whom have mobility limitations that do not pertain when they are in the water, the pools may be their only source of exercise and a major means of staying engaged socially.

    I have no problem with Brett’s suggestion to delay the issue of the pools except that I am concerned that the delay will actually translate into simply not taking up the issue. Unlike some commenters, I also do not see the pools as a luxury, but as a vital part of our community.

    1. Michelle Millet

      We are not talking about no pools, we have 3 functioning recreation pools facilities. The Manor complex has 3 pools plus a splash pad, Arroyo has 2 pools, and civic has a lap pool. That is 6 pools. Plus the facilities at UC Davis.

    2. Sam

      I am not worried about Davis being able to do two things at once. I am getting worried about being able to pay all of the special assessments on my property tax bill already plus $900 for the roads and another $50 for the pools per year (if the City pays for both with 10 year bonds).

        1. David Greenwald

          We have never had a community discussion about the services we want and the real costs to get them. I suspect you and possibly even me will be out-numered on some of them, but at least we will know scope and cost. It’s irresponsible that we continue to unroll this piecemeal. However, the roads problems are a true crisis, it’s not going away, and delay will increase the costs. So I’m willing to address that now, but pools need to be part of the larger discussion.

          1. Sam

            Yes the roads are a real crisis. That is why I did not want Measure O to pass, because I knew that I would be paying more in parcel tax soon for them.
            I agree that it is irresponsible to roll them out piecemeal. It would be nice if the City just laid out the actual cost of things and allowed us to choose as a community.
            It would be interesting during the next round of contract negotiations if given the choice between increasing City workers pay or a new pool what they would choose.

          2. Davis Progressive

            measure o not passing would have probably meant no parcel tax anyway as the city would have needed to figure out how to fund those services cut in the wake…

            the workers/ city isn’t going to have a choice between a pay increase or pools, their going to get a choice between cutting a little and cutting a lot.

    1. Tia Will

      I honestly don’t see how the “emergency message” about the roads can be “diluted” since as several speakers and posters noted, the evidence of it is plainly visible all around us. That is the one message that I think is crystal clear.

    2. Tia Will

      Mark

      “how many times per year would you realistically expect to be able to host a major event as you suggest? Once a month seems entirely unlikely, so put some numbers to your claim. How many events, bringing in how many people each time. I believe you are overstating the significance of the economic impact.”

      I am confused. When I had asked you for projections about how much money you felt might be generated by an innovation park, you essentially told me that this was a silly question which did not deserve an answer. Now you are requesting the same type of estimate from Will. I am wondering what you see as the difference whereby my question was “frivolous” and your question of essentially the same nature merits a response.

      1. Mark West

        Businesses located in innovation parks will be open for business generating revenues 5-7 days a week year round. The claim that the 50M pool will generate enough money to pay for itself with large events bringing thousands of people to town does not take into account that there are a finite number of days each year that such events can take place (generally weekends) and there is an even smaller number of opportunities to hold such events due to competing events occurring at the same time. Thus, the actual number of such events is likely limited to 1 or 2 per quarter on the high side, and probably really only 1 or 2 per year. Your questioning the validity of businesses generating revenue for the City was frivolous and not worthy of discussion. Will’s claim that the pool will pay for itself is specious and in need of being debunked. Apples and oranges Tia.

  3. Michael Harrington

    Community Pool closing was appalling, while the most highly paid employees fought to keep theirs over some money so the poor and middle class kids had no pool in bikable range.

    There is a lot of wide and deep anger in the community over this.

    1. Davis Progressive

      community pool was the wake up call to the community that no one heeded. there’s no highly paid employee cut that was going to fund $7 million.

  4. Frankly

    Palo Alto has about the same population as Davis and a general fund budget that is about twice the size of Davis.

    Why do you think that is?

    And here is a clue… it is not from higher taxation.

    1. South of Davis

      Frankly wrote:

      > Palo Alto has about the same population as Davis and a general
      > fund budget that is about twice the size of Davis.

      It also has an average home price that is ~ three (3) times the Davis average home price.

      Like Davis Palo Alto has a university for a neighbor, but unlike Davis the university next to Palo Alto has a lot more money (I read something a wile back that the Stanford endowment is close to $3 Million per student)…

      1. Frankly

        Standford endowment does not have anything to do with the $150 million dollar general fund budget compared to our measly $42 million.

        Here is the general lay of the revenue land for both cities…

        – Palo Alto – Davis

        Property Tax – 32,034,417 15,393,154
        Sales Tax – 25,606,045 9,400,000
        Transient Occupancy Tax – 10,793,717
        Interest and Rent – 22,443,602 4,675,171
        Charges for Services – 36,923,249 4,527,677
        Other Taxes / Revenue – 12,000,000 7,209,256

  5. Michelle Millet

    I’m still not fulling understanding why fixing the pools is taking priority over all the other structural needs the city is facing, especially given the fact that relative to most communities we have an abundance of functioning pools.

      1. Davis Progressive

        except that that “they” being the council didn’t throw out anything. staff compiled a list of needs, the council other than dan made it pretty clear they wanted to prioritize roads. that’s why michelle and i are questioning you.

  6. Ryan Kelly

    I support keeping it simple. Focus on roads for now. A 50′ pool would be nice for the swimming teams, but it would not be a recreation pool.

    I don’t detect community-wide anger over this. It never comes up in conversation…ever. Most of the apartments in North Davis have pools and biking to one of the public pools is not a huge problem. The Community Pool was never used for recreation swimming. Why go there when there are much nicer public pools at Arroyo, East Davis and UCD? When did biking more than a few blocks become a problem? Davis has really changed.

    I would have more support for a larger parcel tax, if one of the schools taxes were allowed to expire. I wonder, is the last one – passed under dire financial circumstances – viewed as permanent now?

    1. South of Davis

      Ryan wrote:

      > I support keeping it simple. Focus on roads for now. A 50′ pool would
      > be nice for the swimming teams, but it would not be a recreation pool.

      If more people read the article below (that TBD posted yesterday) I don’t think we will have a lot of support for a new 50M pool in Davis.

      http://www.athleticbusiness.com/aquatics/municipal-aquatics-providers-seek-right-mix-of-competition-and-leisure.html

      Anyone that says:

      “It’s clear that we’re going to have to invest $7 million on these to refurbish civic and community (pool),”

      did not get a quote from the private sector, since the job will be under a million (still a lot of money) to “refurbish” the civic and community pools. In Arizona developers are making money selling NEW homes with NEW pools in the back yards for about $350K each (so that is about 20 NEW pool AND 20 NEW homes for ~$7million). Here in California $7 million gets us single pool renovation with union labor (or a couple firefighter pensions)…

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        And there are so many choices… why not a 25- or 25-meter pool? How about a natatorium for year-round use? How about phase it in in 2 phases?

        Is DJUSD in on paying part of the yearly maintenance?

        Will the Masters swimmers come up with say, a $1M, to help fund it?

      2. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        The pools that you are referencing in Arizona are for private use by those wealthy enough to be able to afford them. This has nothing at all to do with the well being of the communities involved.

  7. DT Businessman

    SoD, your repeated claims of the private sector doing the work cheaper is not helpful. The job could also be done cheaper if none of the contractors had to pay income tax, the City could avoid ADA compliance, etc. There is zero chance of the City being able to avoid paying prevailing wages. What’s the point in railing against complying with the laws of the land?

    -Michael Bisch

    1. South of Davis

      DT Businessman:

      > What’s the point in railing against complying with the laws of the land?

      I’m not saying we should pick up a bunch of illegal aliens at the Woodland Home Depot and pay them cash to do the job I’m just pointing out the $7 MILLION is WAY WAY high to “refurbish” a pool (even with unions, ADA prevailing wages AND “burning $2 million pile of $100 bills”)…

        1. South of Davis

          DP wrote:

          > michael’s point is state law isn’t changing,
          > so why make impossible suggestions.

          My point is that is possible to “refurbish” the current pool for less than $7 million even if we follow all our current laws (even if we waste/steal/burn/kick back a couple million)…

        2. Frankly

          State law needs to change. Since when did any good liberal progressive worth his/her salt accept any law he/she deemed bad or wrong. Even the liberal progressive prince/messiah in Washington tends to ignore laws he does not like or agree with.

          If the city cannot run the pools at an affordable level, and we cannot replace over-priced city employees with market-level labor, then close the pools.

  8. davisite4

    One important factor that is being overlooked in this discussion is that a 50m pool would allow the various swimming organizations to host big regional swim meets. That would bring in money to help fund the pools and also bring money to Davis, as visitors stay in local hotels, eat in local restaurants, etc.

      1. Davis Progressive

        that doesn’t seem like a reasonable response.

        to me at least the question is not whether there is community interest in a pool, it’s timing.

    1. DT Businessman

      davisite4, I look forward to reviewing the data to support the claim. But even so, that’s no argument for why the pools should be wrapped up in a roads/bikes parcel tax instead of a separate pools parcel tax or increased parks parcel tax.

      BP, you appear to be saying that all economic development projects should be funded 100% by the public sector even though the City benefits from the resulting increased tax revenue? Is that right?

      -Michael Bisch

    2. Mark West

      How many ‘big regional swim meets’ can realistically be held at the site each year? What is the level of demand for another such event facility given the current availability throughout the region? How many such meets will be required in order for the increased economic activity to cover the costs?

      I believe that the City should have built a 50M pool complex a couple of decades ago, and so I see the need for this pool as being both real and significant. I do not believe that the pool will ‘pay for itself’ however as there simply are not enough opportunities for ‘big regional meets’ to bring in the amount of money necessary to support that claim. Most importantly however, building this pool, or any other recreational infrastructure at a time when we cannot afford to properly maintain the infrastructure that we already have, is nonsensical.

      The parcel tax, if there is going to be one, should be directed solely at fixing the roads, sidewalks and bike paths in the City. Most importantly however, the monies should be specifically restricted from being used to pay any form of public employee compensation.

      If there is a desire to fund construction of new park infrastructure such as buying Nugget field, or building a new pool complex, it should be addressed by a separate tax.

      1. DT Businessman

        “The parcel tax, if there is going to be one, should be directed solely at fixing the roads, sidewalks and bike paths in the City. Most importantly however, the monies should be specifically restricted from being used to pay any form of public employee compensation.”

        Mark, you seem to ignore the fact that money is fungible. By paying for roads & bike paths with a parcel tax, you are freeing up general funds for discretionary spending on….well, whatever the CC wants to spend it on, including public employee compensation.

        -Michael Bisch

        1. Mark West

          I understand that just fine Michael, thank you very much. There is no reason however to create yet another budget fund in which the City can hide compensation costs as they seem to do with every other enterprise fund. If the CC wants to increase compensation costs they should do it from the General Fund, not by burying it the roads budget.

    3. Rich RifkinWDE 73

      “One important factor that is being overlooked in this discussion is that a 50m pool would allow the various swimming organizations to host big regional swim meets.”

      Wouldn’t it make more sense that ‘various swimming organizations’ in Davis use the (just 10-year-old) Ted & Rand Schaal Aquatics Center, which has an Olympic sized pool and so on, if they want to ‘host big regional swim meets?’

      It seems to me that any city-owned swimming facilities should first and foremost be designed to benefit Davis children, not competitive swimmers. And after kids, they should facilitate recreational adult swimmers (which is primarily what the Civic Center pool does, AFAIK).

      I think the notion of outsourcing swimming pool management and upkeep should be looked into (much the way the Davis Muni Golf Course is operated). I suspect that one of the reasons city pools are open so few hours each year and why their upkeep is so expensive is because city workers are massively over-compensated per hour, and thus the city is harming children in order to benefit a handful of workers. That, to me, is a shame and is not what community pools ought to be about.

      I would also guess that high insurance costs (due to the threat of very expensive lawsuits from the lawyers who fund the California Democratic Party) make keeping these facilities open very tough. Given how corrupt our legislators are, there is no chance they would even consider limiting the liability of cities which operate public pools.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/30/public-pools-closing-acro_n_868753.html

      1. South of Davis

        Rich wrote:

        > I suspect that one of the reasons city pools are open so few
        > hours each year and why their upkeep is so expensive is because
        > city workers are massively over-compensated per hour, and thus
        > the city is harming children in order to benefit a handful of workers.

        Back when Lt. Governor was Mayor of SF his staff discovered that the city was paying the people collecting “use fees” at the city pools more than twice the “total fees” they were collecting each year. It would be interesting to see how much we pay the people who collect fees from 1-5 pm at Manor Pool (when most people are working and can’t go there with their kids) vs. the total fees they collect. Like SF we might be able to “save” money by making the pools “free”…

      2. davisite4

        Rich, I hope you read Will Portello’s reply below (June 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm). It shows the inaccuracies in what you’ve written. In short, many (perhaps even most) of the competitive swimmers who would use the pool ARE children, no, Civic Pool has both children and adults swimming there, Shaal is expensive and not very available, and the various swimming groups do pay for pool maintenance already.

  9. DavisBurns

    I agree we need to focus on street repair and not add any pools into the mix. I live a few blocks from community pool and was shocked when it closed but we need two thirds to pass and I think the constant complainers will never shut up if we include more than the street maintenance. This will be asking for more money a second time in six months and we need to focus on the most important need. There are good arguments for spending money on the pools but the opposition posted here will rise to the level of an evangelical tent meeting in the coming months. Don’t give them funding pools as ammunition. When/if we get to pool repairs we will be subjected to outrage that the city keeps coming back asking for another handout but apparently that’s how we do it in Davis.

    We aren’t Palo Alto, UCD isn’t Stanford. Our university’s hospital isn’t located in town, it’s in Sacramento. We don’t have the demand for the upscale shopping that’s available in Palo Alto and it isn’t that we have restricted retail, it is that Palo Alto is much more expensive to live and there is a critical mass (not limited to residents) to support retail that isn’t Target, Costco and their cousins. Unlike Palo Alto we have a wonderful agricultural moat around our 65,000 citizens. Palo Alto is separated from Sunnyvale, San Carlos and Mountain View by a road sign. If we wanted to sprawl north to Woodland and west all the way to Berkeley, we MIGHT resemble Palo Alto in another 20 years. Most of us do not want that future. Apparently, those who rail against our slow growth policies want a very different future. Seems like we need to re-visit our growth plan. Is a population of 70,000 a good limit? Do we want to retain a semi-rural University small town identity or do we want to plant houses and innovation parks all around our current boundaries? What Davis has done to contain its growth and maintain its boundaries took a lot of dedication and determination for a long time and it is unique. It’s also what drives up our property values and keeps them high and allows us to recover our home values when other markets tank.

    Back to taxes. Stick to the roads and we have a better chance of getting two thirds of the vote. And there is merit to the admonisition that we have to live within our means unless we want to become east Berkeley/far west Sacramento.

  10. wdf1

    UCD’s 50 meter pool was made possible by a large contribution from the Schaal Family, who received name rights to the pool. I’m sure there were other donations made. If there is a strong community interest in such a pool, I would explore seeing if one could be financed by community donations in a similar manner. The Brady Family made also made a large donation for the building/clubhouse of the Civic pool.

    The question then would be could/would the city be able to finance the maintenance of the pool.

  11. Don Shor

    Posting a summary sent to me by Michael Bisch of the size parcel tax necessary to reduce the backlog to zero within 5-10 years while keeping the PCI near 68 or so. Michael’s note: The variables are interest rate, amount borrowed, 10-year vs. 30-year bond) and number of parcels covered (the recurring argument about how apartment properties are treated).
    http://davismerchants.org/vanguard/CCI_0059.pdf

    1. Frankly

      Assuming the best possible circumstance, and the longest term debt (30 years) the requirement will be $255 per year per parcel?

      But go for a 10 year bond at 5% (a reasonable term and rate) and we are talking about as much as $925 per year per parcel.

      With these mega numbers, the Mace 391 decisions glares as a HUGE mistake.

        1. Frankly

          Well then we are REALLY going to need to open our wallets then.

          So I assume the CC is going to dumb this down to a smaller bite so that it stands a chance to pass… which will mean that our road maintenance budget is still underfunded and they will need to come back over and over again for more tax increases.

          Therein lies the strategy of death by a thousand cuts.

          1. Davis Progressive

            that’s guaranteed, that’s what b-mod is – dumbed down $25 million, $3 to $4 per years. We need twice that on both fronts. b-mod gets us to about 63 pci.

  12. Will Portello

    Given the popularity of Aquadarts, Springdarts, MiniDarts, Aquamonsters, Summerdarts, Falldarts, and Aquastars, the number of Davis children who are “competitive swimmers” is not insignificant. Add in the High School teams , and it gets bigger.

    The City did close Community Pool because it lacked maintenance funds. However, the Pool is being leased by Aquadarts, who now fund it. In reality, aquatic user groups actually pay for the full pro-rata cost of the pools for the time in which they use the pools. Because a 50-meter pool would see full usage, based on the various aquatics surveys (keep in mind that it also can be used as a 25-meter pool, when the lanes are aligned appropriately), the operating costs would be covered.

    Schaal is of limited use, because (a) the University has priority; and (b) the costs of using the facility is extremely high, in no small part because UCD has more overhead passed through the rental costs.

    There are economic gains to be realized, in no small part because bringing a thousand people to town, multiple times a year, for 2 days at a time, will obviously result in money (and sales tax revenue) coming into the City.

    In short; we invest in updating the facilities at Community Pool with a 50-meter; aquatics groups cover the operating costs, there are economic rewards from the results, and we provide both kids and adults with facilities and recreation.

    1. DT Businessman

      Will, I get all that. But the CC is not even contemplating fully funding the roads and bike paths backlog, only a part thereof. How can you argue that there is enough money for a pool when the CC is insisting there’s not enough to deal with the roads and bike paths? What Am I missing?

      -Michael Bisch

      1. Will Portello

        Outside groups won’t fund the operation of roads and bike paths. If a 50-meter complex is built, then the aquatics groups fund the operations and maintenance through user fees, because (as with all City facilities), the rental rates cover all aspects of the pool and overhead expenses. Because the user fees cover the costs, then it doesn’t impact the budget. A competitive pool in Davis would be fully subscribed by users. Operating the “recreational” pools only impacts the city budget negatively, because the individual users who pay an entrance fee don’t really cover the operational and lifeguarding costs, or the city overhead. To some extent the user groups fees are allowing the operation of the recreational aspects of the other pools.

    2. Mark West

      Will: ” in no small part because bringing a thousand people to town, multiple times a year, for 2 days at a time,”

      I ask again Will, how many times per year would you realistically expect to be able to host a major event as you suggest? Once a month seems entirely unlikely, so put some numbers to your claim. How many events, bringing in how many people each time. I believe you are overstating the significance of the economic impact.

      I think the City should get out of the business of operating the pools and instead lease them to non-profit organizations such as the Aquadarts and Masters, or for profit businesses, to supply both the recreational and competitive aspects of the aquatic programs in town.

  13. Will Portello

    There are a variety of projects in town (the Fire Station, Vets, the Senior Center) that need work. I don’t disagree with that. However, the critical difference is that no outside groups are available to fund the operations. If the Vets or the Senior Center had 100% occupancy from outside users, then the rental fees generated would make them revenue-neutral, at worst. There seems to be an allocation of downtown overhead built into the those rental rates, in which case, rental income from the facilities, if 100% subscribed, would exceed the operating costs. We don’t have that with most facilities. However, based on the aquatics surveys, we would have that with 50-meter.

  14. Will Portello

    Looking at actual numbers, the operating costs for 50-meter pool will be in the vicinity of $250,000 per year (according to USA Swimming). Because the Davis competitive-type pools are in use seven days per week, from 5:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., (Monday-Friday), plus 8 or so hours on Saturday, plus 3 hours on Sunday (this does not take into consideration swim meets), calculated on 50 weeks per year (assuming maintenance downtime), so that’s 4175 rental hours. $60 per rental hour covers the operating costs for the pool. By way of comparison, Arroyo’s lap pool rents for $123 per hour (due to staffing, etc.).

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      So if the pool will be used almost 24/7, when will normal folks get to use it?

      This seems to be a rushed item that is not critical, 50-meter pools are used by less than 5% of the public.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      Will, according to AB Magazine, your numbers don’t add up. This is what they wrote in 2008:

      “Mendioroz says competition-only facilities historically achieve about 50 to 60 percent cost recovery in a given year, meaning for every $1 million needed to operate the pool, it’s generating $500,000 to $600,000 in revenue. With 750,000 gallons of water and 12,300 square feet of surface area, one Olympic-regulation pool costs $250,000 a year in chemicals and utilities alone. “That’s a lot of 50 cent or $1 admissions,” says Mendioroz.”

      So when the city’s budgte out of whack, some are suggesting adding more costs and bond payments on top of roads and other critical items?

      I’d think a careful survey of what Roseville and others have done is in order. Building a smaller competition venue, and repairing what is already there, need to be two options considered.

  15. TrueBlueDevil

    Along with the Athletic Business Magazine article, I’d also suggest reading what the City of Davis put together six months ago (or so). You can find it with google.

  16. Will Portello

    Actually, I think the numbers are not out of line with what I said (although water is certainly a variable)- operating costs. Additional costs (which I did not include, because user groups fund them, such as lifeguards), or fixed costs, including management, fixed cost recovery, and structures unrelated to the pool itself, I didn’t factor in. Based on the January 2013 Report, there are over 6700 hours of use of City pools, by the user groups alone.

    If the total cost of the pool operation were as high as $1,000,000 dollars a year (v. the $927,000 worst-cast scenario), and the user groups used it 4175 hours per year… that means a charge of $240 per hour rental would cover it. If the user groups will pay $240 per hour, (which is essentially double what’s being paid for a 25 meter at Arroyo, more or less), then it’s covered.

  17. TrueBlueDevil

    Can we also get legal assurances that the pool and / or pool structures will be built by a diverse group of AMERICAN tradespeople? Provide documentation, and let them all pass e-Verify, including sub contractors.

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