Keeping the city's swimming pool open during the winter and what it costs the city to operate the pool will be discussed at tonight's Layton City Council meeting.
Two groups of users, the Layton High School swim team and a group of senior citizens, are asking the council to keep the Surf'N Swim facility open through the winter.The bubble-topped wave pool takes about $9,000 a month in natural gas to keep it heated during the winter.
The petitions bring up the larger issue of city subsidies for the facility, which run between $200,000 and $250,000 a year, including paying off its construction bonds. The pool, with its wave-making equipment and adjacent recreation facilities, cost around $2.3 million to build.
The council debates the pool's operation each year during budget time and so far has decided to continue full-time operation. The pool was never expected to be self-supporting, according to city officials.
But the amount of the subsidy has some council members asking if it is a good way to spend the city's money. Other recreation and non-recreation programs, such as the city's museum and arts council, could also use more funding.
The council last fall considered holding a referendum to ask Layton residents to vote on an increase in their utility franchise tax specifically earmarked for swimming pool operations.
But the referendum was never held, and the council, now working on drawing up a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, is looking at the pool subsidy issue again.
In the current 1990-91 city budget, pool revenues are estimated at $320,000 annually. Expenses are estimated at $260,000 for operations and $188,000 for personnel, totaling $448,000. The year's payment on the bonds to finance the pool is $98,000, bringing its total cost to $546,000 for the year.
The total subsidy to make up for the operating revenues and bond cost is $226,000, according to the current budget. The city transfers $103,000 from its general fund, $110,000 in park impact fees and $13,000 in office rental funds to the pool budget to make up the difference.