The city doesn't have enough money to fund its own recreation programs, much less donate funds to Layton to keep its swimming pool open, a group of Kaysville senior citizens was told Tuesday.
The senior citizens, represented by a former Kaysville councilman, petitioned the council to donate money to Layton to subsidize the operation of Layton's covered swimming pool.Layton will discuss the pool's fate at its council meeting Thursday night at 7 p.m. Layton has been subsidizing the pool's operation with $200,000 to $250,000 annually out of its general revenue fund and is considering closing it during the winter to save money.
Dee Sanders, who served on the Kaysville council for eight years, said the city's senior citizens are regular users of the Layton facility. They make up a large percentage of the pool's exercise and water aerobics classes, he said.
Kaysville has discussed building its own pool as part of a city recreation complex, but a study done two years ago found the city doesn't have the tax or population base to support one, Mayor Brit Howard said.
"We had requests every year when I was on the council to build a pool," Sanders said. "But surveys always showed that it wasn't financially feasible.
"Swimming pools lose money, that's all there is to it," the former councilman said. "When we'd talk to the other cities about their pools, and about building one of our own, they'd tell us to come and take theirs if we could."
But Layton has built one, and Kaysville should consider subsidizing it based on the number of its residents who use the pool, Sanders told the council. Most of the city's senior citizens who patronize the Layton pool have purchased a $75 yearly pass, he said, estimating it costs them 63 cents every time they use the pool.
Howard said a survey done two years ago shows the city needs a population base of 25,000 to 29,000 to support a pool. That is about double Kaysville's current size, he said.
Building one now would require a property tax increase in the 65 percent range, which Howard said is unacceptable. The city has discussed a joint project with Fruit Heights and Farmington, he said, but the numbers are still not there.
"The city budget just doesn't have the money in it to do everything we'd like to do, all of our own parks and recreation programs," said Howard. "Plus we've got a lot of potholes and chuckholes out there to fill.
"We get a lot of requests for donations for arts and cultural organizations that our residents benefit from, like the Bountiful Art Center, that we just can't meet, as much as we'd like to," said Howard.
"Besides, I'd find it difficult to make a donation to a city like Layton that, as I understand it, has a parks and recreation budget that is larger than our whole general fund.
"If any money is going to change hands, I'd like to see some come from up there down to here," the mayor suggested.
Kaysville resident Walt Mecham said donating to support one recreation program would open the door to other requests.
"I'm not a swimmer and I don't play golf, but I do have other things I enjoy doing," said Mecham. "Where would you draw the line? Would you start subsidizing all the other types of recreation, too?"
While turning down a subsidy, the council didn't shut the door entirely on helping. The city could advertise the pool in its newsletter to encourage users and could sell senior citizen, season, and family passes through its city offices, the council agreed.