Pool admission rate increase set

Young swimmers enjoy “The Snake” at the Tracy Aquatic Center last summer.

Season pass changes made

By Seth Schmidt

Daily admission rates at the Tracy Aquatic Center will increase this summer for the first time in 14 years.
Admission will be $6 for an all-day pass, up from the $5 that has been charged since the pool opened in 2003.
The rate for admission after 5 p.m. will increase from $2 to $3, as will the 7  a.m. adult swim. Both the early and late rates had been $2 since 2003.
Tracy City Council members approved the increases earlier this month, as a way to reduce the pool’s operating deficit. The city’s general fund transferred just over $82,000 to take care of the pool’s 2016 operating debt.  Aquatic center operations were also subsidized by $5,000 in donations.
“It’s a big expense,” said Councilman Bill Chukuske, of the aquatic center.  While taxpayers fund many services that aren’t expected to break even, Chukuske said, at some point increased user fees are necessary to reduce the pool’s red ink.  Chukuske felt that the city’s pool fees are relatively “inexpensive” and “reasonable.”
But councilman Dave Tiegs said he is concerned that the rates increases “are getting to the point where we are going to price people out.”
Mayor Steve Ferrazzano felt the increase was worth trying, in light of the pool losses.  “For years we haven’t increased the rates and the pool has lost money.”
A reduced rate coupon booklet will continue to be offered, with 10 admissions for $40, or $4 each.

Season passes change
The council also approved changes in season passes.
In the past, the pool sold both individual and family passes. This year, the pool will sell only individual passes.
City Administrator Madonna Peterson cited two reasons for the change.
One is the difficulty in defining who should be included on a “family” pass, and the difficulty of verifying who is a family member.
The second was an analysis that concluded that family season pass users were paying much less per pool visit than an individual season pass holder.  For example, Peterson cited a hypothetical family of four who bought a season pass last year, and visited the pool 20 times.  The four family members would end up paying $1.38 per admission, compared with $3.25 for the individual season pass holder who also visited the pool 20 times.    With 10 trips to the aquatic center, a family of four would have paid $2.75 per admission, whereas an individual would have paid $6.50.  Peterson questioned the fairness of charging the individual more than the group.
The new season pass will be $50 per resident, and $70 per non-resident.  Under the old policy, a resident family season pass was $110, and $130 for a non-resident family.  The previous single-resident season pass rate was $65, with $85 charged for a non-resident individual.

Swimming lessons
Fees for swimming lessons will be increasing from $35 to $40 this summer.  Ten-session, two-week classes will be offered from June 12 to June 23, July 10 to July 21, and July 31 to August 13. Make-up dates for any weather-related cancellations will be held in the in between weeks. Wednesday evening classes will also be offered from June 7 to August 9, from 7 to 8 p.m.
Swimming lesson registration is planned at Tracy City Hall Wednesday, May 17, from 4 to 7 p.m.  Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to those attending the kick off.   Registrations received prior to May 17 will be opened after the kick-off event.  Registration deadline is June 1.

Uniform hours
Public open swimming hours will be from 1 to 7 p.m., seven days a week.  That’s a change from the recent years, when closing times varied by the day.
An early adult swimming period, Monday through Friday, will be offered from 7 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.  The early-morning swim had opened at 6:30 a.m.
Opening and closing dates have not yet been announced.