Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 01/27/2016  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon schedules and charges for recreation facilities, pools, programs and services;
FISCAL IMPACT:
$2,496,465.00 is budgeted for Aquatics in 2016 and per Board direction 50% of the expense budget ($1,248,700.00) should be recovered through pool fees.The 2016 adopted Budget and projected revenues and expenses are modeled upon this cost recovery goal. 
 
BACKGROUND:
Per The Woodlands Township Order Number 019-09, it shall be the responsibility of the President to submit to the Board of Directors, from time to time as appropriate, revisions to the hours of operation for swimming pools and park user fees.  The 2016 Pool Hours and Fee Schedule is accordingly presented to the Board of Directors for consideration.
 
Pool Calendar:
Historically, the schedule of the hours and days the community swimming pools are open consists of a pre-season period, a regular season period, and a post-season period.  Not all 14 pools are  open in the pre- or post-season periods, while all pools are open during the regular season.  The pre- and post-season schedules rotate slightly from year-to-year to be equitable to all Villages and all residents.  As such there is at least one pool in each Village open during the pre- and post-seasons; those pools will be open from 12:00pm to 6:00pm on Saturdays and 1:00pm to 6:00pm on Sundays. The primary changes between the 2015 season and the proposed 2016 season are:

2015:
  • Pre-season (9 Pools) – Alden Bridge, Bear Branch, Cranebrook, Falconwing, Harper’s Landing, Ridgewood, Rob Fleming, Sawmill, Wendtwoods
  • Post-season (9 Pools)– Cranebrook, Creekwood, Forestgate, Harper’s Landing, Rob Fleming, Sawmill, Shadowbend, Wendtwoods, Windvale
2016:
  • Pre-season (9 Pools) – Alden Bridge, Bear Branch, Cranebrook, Falconwing, Harper’s Landing, Ridgewood, Rob Fleming, Sawmill, Wendtwoods
  • Post-season (9 Pools)– Cranebrook, Creekwood, Forestgate, Harper’s Landing, Lakeside, Rob Fleming, Sawmill, Shadowbend, Wendtwoods
     
    Other minor adjustments proposed for 2016 are either based on the CISD calendar, or otherwise are focused on effective program delivery and making the best possible use of resources:
     
  • Pre-season weekday use at Bear Branch Pool will begin May 16th and continue to June 2nd, barring extension of the school year as addressed in the point below.
  • The regular season will follow the CISD calendar (currently beginning June 3rd and ending August 21st) and adjust as needed should inclement weather days change the CISD schedule. In 2015 no changes were made, but in 2014 this did postpone start of the regular season by one day.
  • Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day- All pools will open at 10:00am and close at 6:00pm.
  • Post-season weekday use at Shadowbend Pool will be from August 22nd to September 2nd. Post-season weekday use of Shadowbend, in place of Bear Branch, began following major facility renovations in 2015 and was well-received.
Beginning in 2014, all swim team pools (Creekwood, Forestgate, and Lakeside) were put on a post-season-only rotation. This allows each of those pools to avoid schedule conflicts with Aquatic Programs in the pre-season while providing the residents in those villages with a consistent pre-season location unaffected by Programs. The corresponding Village Pool (Ridgewood, Falconwing, and Alden Bridge or Windvale) will be open in the pre-season.
 
Pool Hours:
In an effort to contain operational costs and maximize maintenance efficiency,  the Associations adopted regular season pool schedules which included closing each pool one day per week for in-service training and scheduled maintenance, otherwise opening certain pools from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday-Saturday, opening the majority of pools from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday-Saturday, and opening all pools from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Sundays. Please see the 2016 Pool Schedule (Attachment A) and the 2015 Pool Schedule (Attachment B) which  continues this approach.
 
Pool Fees:
The Woodlands Township Parks and Recreation Department and specifically the Aquatics Division has had the goal to cover 50% of its operational cost through fees and charges.  Revenue is derived from annual passes, punch cards, daily fees, pool rentals and contract pool rentals.   This cost recovery goal has been met over the course of the past five years while adding an additional pool, five spray grounds, an increase in the minimum wage (2009) and the base cost of the resident pool pass did not increase.  Staff was able to do this through a yearly review of expenses related to staffing, chemicals, and utilities, all while trying to maximize the use of the pool during non- public/open swim time which generated increased revenue.

This past year the Aquatics Division has been especially challenged with recruiting and training enough guards for a full complement of staff.  Typically, the Township hires 330+ lifeguards per year, however only about 300 were employed this year.  While safety of pool patrons and residents was never in question, the challenge was providing a full complement of guards during the pre and post seasons.  Guard salaries have remained constant since 2009 and competition for the 16-22 year olds has dramatically increased over the course of the past five years with the addition of more retail stores, restaurants and young adults desiring to conduct internships and practicum at an earlier age.  To remain an attractive employer to this population the wage rates for guards (guards, head guards, pool supervisors, zone coordinators/supervisors, etc.) should be increased; however this would impact the cost recovery of the Aquatics Division.  This increase was approved by the Board during the 2016 Budget approval process.  Raising the lifeguards wages to a more competitive rate will increase the Aquatics Division budget by $146,273.
 
Anticipating a need to adjust fees as a result of the wage increase to meet the cost recovery goal, staff presented a new fee schedule to the Parks and Recreation Department Advisory Council in October for input. The presentation proposed to increase all pool fees for the 2016 season and possible 2017 season.  Increases ranged from 10% to 66% across the various categories of pool fees. 
 
However, since that time, the end of year actual expenses and revenues have been determined end of year revenue of $1,248.232 and unaudited end of year expenses of $2,332,778 - 52.9% cost recovery.    Factoring in the increase in lifeguard wages, actual 2015 expenses and revenues, staff projects a 2016 cost recovery level of 49.9%   Therefore, an increase in pool fees is not recommended at this time . (Attachment C)  During the 2017 Budget process, the Board will be provided an updated forecast for 2016 which may result in a need for fee increase consideration for 2017.  

 
RECOMMENDATION:
It is recommended to adopt the 2016 Pool Hours of Operation and Pool Fee Schedules as presented.     
 
Attachments
Attachmen tA - 2016 Proposed Pool Schedule
Attachment B - 2015 Pool Schedule
Attachment C - 2015 Adopted and 2016 Proposed Pool Fees


    

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