Swimming Pool FAQ
- Who owns the swimming pool in the park?
The swimming pool and the park are owned by the City of Grant.
- Who manages, maintains, and funds the swimming pool?
The City of Grant. City of Grant employees manage and maintain the pool. Citizens of Grant, through property taxes and franchise fees, fund the operation of the pool. (Franchise fees are basically a tax of a certain percentage charged to a utility against that utility’s gross receipts. Electric system franchise fees fund many of the City’s activities.) Funds collected for pool passes do not cover the operating expenses of the pool.
- What does it cost to run the pool?
It costs the City of Grant approximately $47,000 to maintain and operate (including staffing) the existing pool for the 2 ½ months it is open each year. Pool passes and concession sales bring in approximately $11,000. This means it costs the citizens approximately $36,000 each year to have a pool in Grant.
Generally the entire Parks and Rec budget is about $140,000 per year. For comparison, the City of Grant collects approximately $235,000 in property taxes each year – this is a city wide total of property taxes collected. Many people incorrectly believe that the City could be funded by property taxes alone.
By comparison, the City of Imperial, Nebraska budgeted $112,800.00 for operations at their new swimming pool for fiscal year 16-17. For fiscal year 17-18 they expect operations cost to be $145,400.00. (Source: City of Imperial)
- What is the condition of the pool?
The City of Grant paid for two recent swimming pool evaluations. The first was completed in July of 2011 and the second was completed in August of 2016. Both were done by Miller and Associates Consulting Engineers from Kearney, Nebraska.
The most recent engineers report on the condition of the pool indicates that the pool tub is in fair condition and is not in need of any major repairs. The pool tub is not leaking. Page 10 of Miller and Associates’ 2016 report states, “The pool tub, recirculating piping, main drains, etc. are not leaking and do not require repairs at this time.”
Page 15 of the report goes on to state, “The bathhouse has been well maintained over the years by the City. Overall the structure of the bathhouse is in adequate condition to be able to continue to serve the City for several more swim seasons.” Page 12 states, “The interior of the bathhouse has been well maintained considering the age of the structure. The plumbing fixtures have been replaced as needed, which should encourage patrons to use the restroom facility.”
The report continued by identifying repairs that should be made, such as painting, and updates that could be made, or would be required to be made if any major structural changes are undertaken. (see 5 and 6 below)
- Is the pool in compliance with the ADA?
Yes. (and no) The pool has a pool lift and stairs that provide access to the shallow end of the pool. ADA requires one form of ADA compliant access. The current pool and access do meet ADA requirements.
The baby/wading pool is, for lack of a better word, grandfathered. If any upgrades (or new construction) are completed on the wading pool it will need to be brought up to current ADA standards. As page 15 of Miller and Associates’ report states, “The sloped wading pool entry would not be required unless major improvements are planned for the wading pool.”
The bathhouse does not meet current ADA standards; however, just as with the wading pool, because the ADA upgrades are cost-prohibitive, they would not be required unless major construction is planned. “Major remodeling would be required to make the bathhouse meet current ADA standards,” page 15.
Interestingly, in 2016 someone reported the City of Grant to the federal government alleging that the pool was not in compliance with ADA standards. The City cooperated with the investigation and the federal government ruled that we are not in violation of the ADA. Please use this link to read the “case closed” letter from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
- Is the pool in compliance with Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Title 178 NAC 4 Public Swimming Pool Design and Construction Standards?
Yes. (and no) As stated on page 10 of Miller and Associates’ report, “deficiencies that do not comply with Title 178 NAC 4 Public Swimming Pool Design and Construction Standards may not have to be corrected based on Section 4-006.01 which states ‘Existing licensed swimming pools constructed or under construction prior to September 14, 2010 which do not fully comply with the design and construction requirements of these regulations may be continued in use as long as the swimming pool meets the current operating requirements in 178 NAC 2, poses no significant health or safety risks in the opinion of the Department, and is operated and maintained as designed.’ The pool floor in the deep end and diving water depths have not been deemed a health or safety risk in the opinion of NHHS and therefore no changes are required at this time.”
And from page 15, “the current recirculation system has been ‘grandfathered’, since the facility was constructed prior to the adoption of the Title 178 NAC 4 Nebraska Swimming Pool Design and Construction Standards (effective September 14, 2010).”
As the report states on page 16, “Note that the Title 178 NAC 4 deficiencies are ‘grandfathered’ and as long as they do not pose a health or safety concern to NHHS, the pool can remain in operation.”
- Is the pool safe to swim in?
Yes, as safe as any municipal pool.
Our lifeguards are trained and certified. In addition, four City employees are trained pool operators. Our pool operators take a course from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services that teaches them how to run the mechanical equipment and how to test the water and maintain the proper chemical balance in the water. Our pool water is tested every day before the pool opens and at least every 4 hours for the rest of the day while the pool is open to ensure that it is safe to swim in.
Also, our pool workers make use of a weather app to let them know when lightning is approaching. The pool will be closed anytime lighting strikes within 10 miles.
- What is the history of the sales tax in Grant?
In October of 2012 the City of Grant began to collect a 1% sales tax. The collection of this tax was approved by the citizens of Grant though a vote in May 2012. This vote only allowed for the collection of the tax. The vote did not guarantee that any of the sales tax collected would be spent at the pool. The intention of the Mayor and members of the city council at that time was that half of the tax collected would be spent on street improvements and half would be saved to be spent on some sort of improvements to the bathhouse and/or pool.
The specific language on the ballot for the potential uses of the sales tax was, “capital improvements, or replacement or updates of the City’s infrastructure, including but not limited to streets, water, sewer, parks and recreation facilities.”
In July 2015 a resolution was passed by the city council to earmark ½ of the city sales tax for use on a pool project described as “renovation or construction of the city pool and bath house.” The allocation of these funds terminates 20 years after the effective date of the sales tax, as does the collection of the tax. The resolution also states that the City retains final approval for the project.
If the average amount of sales tax collected in Grant for the past 5 years continues for the next 15 years, the City will collect approximately $1.4 million. (Interestingly, the engineers estimate for a new bathhouse and recirculation system improvements only, not a new pool, is $1,422,300.)
- Does some of the sales tax currently go to the pool?
No. None of the ½% sales tax that has been collected and earmarked for a pool project has been spent. Current pool operations are funded by property taxes and franchise fees. (See #2 and #3 above.) The sales tax ballot language does not allow for sales tax to be used to fund pool operations now or in the future. (See #8 above.)
- Has the City decided to do any projects at the pool?
In 2012 the Mayor and Council implemented the sales tax with plans to use that money to build a new bathhouse and upgrade the circulation system.
- Who is this group raising money for the pool and why are they doing it?
The Perkins County pool group is not associated with the City of Grant.
The group was instructed to work with the City of Grant Parks and Rec Board to determine possible options for a pool project.
At the September 13, 2016 Council meeting the City Parks and Rec Committee recommended, “the 2012 proposed aquatics option 2 sketch and table 6 [totaling $3,438,000] considering the City will obligate $1.4 million [from sales tax] with the understanding the PCPP Committee will fund the balance through grants and donations.”
A motion was passed by the Council to “accept the recommendation from the Parks and Rec Committee subject to financing to be determined March 1, 2018.”
- Who determines what the final plan for the pool will be?
The City Council. As stated in #8 above, the resolution passed in July 2015 states that the City retains final approval for the project.
Also, in an agreement signed between the City of Grant and Miller and Associates concerning the 2016 pool evaluation it states that any pool renderings produced by Miller and Associates will state that “the drawing is for illustration purposes only, as the final design of the facility will be determined by the Grant City Council.”
This agreement also states that “the pool shall require a maximum of 4 lifeguards to guard the facility” which in part, determines the design of the facility.
- Do the citizens of Grant get to vote on the pool project?
Maybe. If the City of Grant has enough money to pay for any pool or bathhouse renovation, upgrade, or new construction without borrowing any money, then a vote of the citizens is not required. As stated in #12 above, the final project and design are up to the city council.
If any money is borrowed, a vote of the citizens would be required.
- So a vote is required if any money is borrowed to complete the pool project?
Yes. Nebraska law says that if a city borrows/bonds any project that is not basic infrastructure (streets, water main, etc.) it must go to a vote of the people. This means the City of Grant can generally borrow money to replace a water main or a sewer main without a vote, but a non-essential item like the pool must go to a vote of the citizens (people who live inside the city limits) before any money can be borrowed to fund it. This is because a bond of this type would be paid off by an additional tax on top of the property tax already paid by the citizens of Grant.
This also means that if any money is borrowed to cover the future sales tax to be collected, a vote of the citizens will be required.
The link to the relevant Nebraska law is here: https://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=17-950
- How can I get more of my questions answered about the City swimming pool?
Come to City Hall or call, we would be happy to talk to you!