Letters to the Editor
February 9, 2012

To the Editor:
(Re: comments made at Town Hall Meeting re: track gate/pool and Mr. Farrell’s editorial - 01/25/12)
Pitting one recreational activity against another is a poor idea, especially in a community like Fillmore where recreational opportunities are very limited for all and especially adults and young adults. Ms. Archer seems to be cutting her nose off to spite her face. She calls for the City to get rid of the Lap Swim program but at this point that is her ONLY access to the FHS track. Ms. Archer stated that only 14-16 people participate in lap swim annually. She is so far off it is laughable. Had she bothered to talk to the people who actually work at the pool she would be much better informed. She stated that she has a petition the 150 signed (Mr. Farrell writes “hundreds of potential track users signed-up.”) She never stated how many runners have actually paid the $25 to the City Runner’s Club. The City’s budget shows that only 6 runners paid in 2009 and 2010. As of March 31, 2011 only 6 runners again had paid. If Ms. Archer will look more closely at the Pool Budget she will notice that there is a line item that reads Runners Club” which is running in deficit adding to the overall pool deficit. The City pays for pool manager and lifeguards to run the lap swim programs AND to open the gates for the runners and be available in case of emergency. The runners pay $25 per year. Lap swimmers pay $4.00 every entry (or $3.50 if they buy a Splash in advance). Some lap swimmers are very consistent and purchase Splash passes over and over. Some lap swimmers are only occasion visitors, some purchase a Splash pass and some just pay cash.
I believe that our Community needs recreational opportunities for all, young and old. That is why I helped fight to get a pool back in Fillmore. That is why I will go out and raise money for the FHS runners track gate.
Yes, the pool is in deficit. I complained bitterly over and over in the fall of 2010 when the City decided the close the pool. There was and is NO oversight by City administration/staff of the expenses/revenues at the pool. The pool fund had two years of parcel tax funds in reserve before the pool was even open. That money was burned through because NOBODY was watching. Why was $8,000 spent on pool office furniture? In the fall of 2009, pool managers who had aquatic experience designed a program that cut down staff and hours for fall/winter. The Deputy City Manager at the time and the Community Services Director INSISTED that the pool be open seven (7) days per week in the fall/early winter. Really stupid!! and a big waste of money. I did not have access to any of the Revenue & Expense information until summer of 2010 when they started talking about closing the pool and I started asking to see the print outs..
Revenue was poor for several reasons - one being the fact that the pool had to be closed OFTEN because the chemicals. After pool staff/managers and patrons complained over and over and over to the Community Services Director and the City Manager, the City finally brought in an outside "pool guy". He is the one who discovered the leak. The City pooh-poohed the leak but I can show you the report from the leak detection company who called the leak "major". The report is public record. Once the chemical situation was straightened out, the pool was opened on a consistent basis and people could depend on it being open. Last summer was a very good summer for the pool. Many days the number of people coming to Rec swim was over 100. Friday night Family night and once a month Friday night Teen nights were successful and gaining in popularity. ALL of the pool programs were gaining in numbers.
The pool deficit can be fixed but unfortunately City Hall does not have the knowledge, experience or desire to accomplish this. Notice that I said City Hall. I am not talking about the pool staff who has always worked hard to provide great pool programs even with their hands tied by City Hall.
Cindy Blatt