Archive for Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pool charge for all 66086 addresses to be at city rates

April 28, 2010, 12:00 a.m.

Updated: May 24, 2010, 2:14 p.m.

The Tonganoxie City Council agreed Monday to reverse a previous decision and charge all those with the 66086 Zip Code city resident rates at the water park.

Last month, the council established higher prices for day and seasonal passes for those living outside the city limits. City Administrator Mike Yanez explained the justification for the different rates was the need to subsidize the pool's operation through general fund revenues and, therefore, property taxes.

At a subsequent meeting, Charlie Ussery, owner of Himpel Lumber and Building Supply, and Jim Gambrill, owner of B&J Country Mart, challenged the decision. Gambrill said a customer had said she would quit shopping in Tonganoxie because of the decision.

Although he was unable to attend the meeting, Ussery said Monday he still supported charging out-of-town visitors at the same rate as city residents. The visitors were helping pay for the pool with sales taxes, and the city would benefit from the shopping they did while in the community, he said.

Darren Shupe, water park manager, told the council Monday it would be easier on staff if there was only one fee, and council members agreed many children and some adults from the unincorporated area wouldn't know they lived outside of the city, especially if they have a Tonganoxie address.

With that, Councilman Tom Putthoff suggested the Zip Code solution.

"To me, a lot of people in the surrounding area put a lot of money into the community and should be treated the same," Putthoff said.

It was agreed to extend the residential day pass rate of $3 for children and $4 for adults and those for season passes to all those with Tonganoxie addresses. Those living outside the 66086 Zip Code would be charged a date pass rate of $4 for children and $5 for adults and higher rates for seasonal passes.

Yanez pointed out those rates were still cheaper than those of nearby cities with the exception of Lawrence.

At Shupe's suggestion, the council also agreed to close the pool an hour earlier at 8 p.m. this summer except for Fridays and Saturdays. There were few swimmers after 8 p.m. and the move would save about $3,000, Shupe said. It also would open more time for pool parties, which were a good source of revenue, he said.

Finally, the council agreed to swim team coach Janet Falk's request to use the pool from 8 a.m. to noon June 18 and 23 for the Tonganoxie Tidal Waves. She said the meets would bring teams to the city with more than 50 members and their families.

As for the Tonganoxie team, Falk anticipated it, too, would have more than 50 members in its second year.


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