City Public Pools are CLOSING

In today's issue of the Blade, the article titled "City lays off 23 workers to cut costs", halfway down is this statement: "Also receiving a layoff notice in the recreation division was Stephen White, who supervised the city

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that I don't read the rag, (most of the time these days, that even includes the free 'limited' online version)this is the first I've heard of this. I'd imagine the tv stations will be on it like flies on a hog turd soon enough.
The pools do keep some kids out of trouble during the hot months.

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In World War 2 we fought (and defeated) the Axis. Today we're afraid of cellphones, smokers, and cheeseburgers. It's about at the end, people.

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'I used to have compassion, but they taxed it and legislated it out of existence.'

That was announced several days ago that it was not going to be just a few but all City pools.

We don't remember days only moments...

I hope that there is a way to keep at least some of the pools open for the kids' sake. If not, it will be interesting to see if there is an increase in the number of fire hydrants being opened - a cost that should be figured into the equation.

I understand that cuts need to be made and it is unfortunate that this program is one of them.

Closing the pools will only save $250k.

My prediction is that this is a giveback. People will bitch about the trash fee, etc, and in a little while, they'll be all "Ok, Fine, we'll leave the pools" Then everyone is happy.

it'll be interesting to see if that is what does happen!

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

I'm hardly the one to advocate privatization, but when compared to a shutdown, doesn't it make sense to bid out the operation of the pools to companies that want to try to profit from them?

At any rate, as shown by Millikin's show at 6PM on Tuesday, the 2006 Toledo city budget grew by 6% over 2005. So, how honest is Carty's Crazy Crew really being when they are proposing cuts now? How about telling us WHAT in the 2006 budget grew by that 6%? 6% budget growth is about $12M, and (as Millikin further noted) occurred when Toledo was still losing population and businesses. $12M sounds about the same amount as Crazy Carty claims the 2007 deficit is. SO ... any sensible discussion of budget cuts should naturally address budget-growth issues. Right?

This decision is a perfect illustration of an administration and a city that does not value it's children, especially it's children that would be affected by these closings.

I think it would be pretty easy to give out colored wrist bands and charge $1 per child. One dollar is a nominal enough fee that even the poorest neighborhoods could afford it even if it means less money for the ice cream truck or corner store.

Doing a little estimation off the numbers in this article: http://www.toledofreepress.com/?id=4774, it's clear that such a fee wouldn't pay for the pools to run, but it would pay a significant chunk.

I think it would be pretty easy to give out colored wrist bands and charge $1 per child.
The pools are free now? I could swear that when I was a kid we had to pay to get into HighLand Park Pool.
I could be wrong because its been a long, long time since I've been to a city pool.

I kind of like the suggestion that the pools be sold off to a private company.

the 2006 Toledo city budget grew by 6% over 2005.

In government-speak if budgets don't increase at a rate faster than over-estimated inflation it equals a budget cut. I've never understood that.

I like the idea of letting private company run them. Lease the pools and let the company take care of all the expenses.

Yes, the surest way to drive home budget problems to an ambivalent citizenry is to find something they cherish and target it for elimination.

The $250K they save on pool closings could easily be matched by the elimination of a handful of high-priced administrators. The bloated city bureaucracy should be the first place cuts happen.

Of course, since it is the members of the bloated city bureaucracy that make the budget decisions, we should not be surprised when they save the jobs of their cronies.

You, me, and my Uncle Don could make the tough decisions in about one solid week's worth of effort, while still keeping the pools open and not charging $6 per month for trash pickup.

But hey - what do we know? We are just little people who have to live within our budgets 24/7/365.

The $250K they save on pool closings could easily be matched by the elimination of a handful of high-priced administrators. The bloated city bureaucracy should be the first place cuts happen.

Absolutly, they could get rid of their web site administrator, who makes 50k+ (including benefits) and spend about $30 a month ($360 a year) to hire a local company to take care of it. but they wont, that would make too much sense!

That $30 will cover website HOSTING, maybe, but you're drastically under-estimating the cost of professional web design and maintenance

Accually the original design was more (not sure exactly how much), but it was a one shot expense, the $30 is for hosting AND maintenence. This is what my company is charged every month.

now offer a wide variety of very comprehensive templates. They ask for your logo and location/contact information. It plugs it all into a template and instructs you on how to upload the files you want to make available.

These companies also administer the site and offer a help desk.

So if the city chooses to keep a full time administrator - I guess I'd want to know why?

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

As for the previous comment of the guy whose business pays $30 for hosting and maintenance--what, exactly, does that "maintenance" include?

Updates and such. (BUT that doesn't include our internet connection) However, the city of toledo's web-site isn't all that impressive so............

But my POINT was if there is a way to do it cheaper it should be done and Carty doesn't APPEAR to care about doing things cheaper (like his $10,000 shower).

Historymike,

What bloat would you cut? Which "high-priced" administrators would you cut?

We eliminated 2 Directors and two departments along with it. We're combining the police and fire chief.

The mayor axed ten people from his staff.

We are trying to reduce city employment. However, police, fire, and refuse collection take up the lion's share of the budget, and nobody wants to cut those.

Oh, GZ you mention the waste in the city water department. thats funny becasue there is a person down the street who comes home 3 times a day in his city water truck. Sometimes he stays for an hour or more. and not during lunch either. (i should video tape it he-he-he)

Also i have a question, are the refuse workers city employees? or are they outsourced to the companies like waste management?

send the tape to the Mayor's office. He doesn't like that sort of thing - remember when he pulled his car over and asked a worker what he was doing? He caught alot of crud for it - but I thought it was cool.

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

I like the idea of letting private company run them. Lease the pools and let the company take care of all the expenses

I like the idea as well. However, I dont think the private co.s should be running the operations of city pools, but to act more as a sponsor; covering all expenses.

They could post sign showing their support and which would act as advertisment for the co.s as well

(ie.Highland Park pool proudly brought to you by DaimlerChrysler. Home of the JEEP!)

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth. ~Japanese Proverb

A big reason the city has used for keeping the pools is it keeps kids out of trouble during the summer.

If that were true then I'd ask why don't we put in more pools to reduce juvenile crime in the summer.

The reason they don't is because there is no significant correlation between the pools usage and a drop in crime. The reason is a myth.

Now if the pools were used enough to be profitable I'd have no problem with them. However it's been a drain on the budget for years.

I say why not convert them into skateboard parks? Other local communities have built them and here's a shock: The kids actually used them!

If anything it'll give the local skateboarders and BMXers a place to go to ride and lower instances of them hanging out local gov't buildings, libraries etc where they currently ride. Plus don't we have bike path money availble? There's the funding for it right there.

You'd be eliminating two problems at once. Wow what a concept. Problem solving!

MikeyA

MikeyA

I'd say I'll be surprised, with current social trends in Toledo, if they do wind up actually closing the pools.

Topics of the day have been curfew violations, truancy, juvenile crime and juvenile gang activity.

In sum, we have many of our city youth adrift with not enough positive activity to be involved in.

A prudent course would be to shift funds away from non-essential acronyms and put more money into facilities for the youths, activities at the city parks and police staffing for a juvenile gang force.

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

If the city actually WANTS a pool they should close the pools and mark one pool as a "water park" with slides wading pools etc. Much like what Maumee did with Rolf park.

While a pool is great a water park is better. By having only one it becomes a destination. That means other "weather related businesses" would congregate around it. Ice cream stands, water toy stores, boardwalk style concessions and stands etc. could all locate nearby.

However if such a venue were created I would not be in favor of spending public money on it.

MikeyA

MikeyA

That $30 will cover website HOSTING, maybe, but you're drastically under-estimating the cost of professional web design and maintenance. if, in reality, that guy has 40 hours worth of work to do each week, it's much cheaper to keep him on staff then to hire a company for $60/hr.

It really is not as simple as you make it sound. First, are there any number of internal web-based applications that the city uses to run it's business?

Second, what kind of ongoing updates and maintenance is being done? For $30 a month, that covers, maybe, 1 hour a month of someones time. More than that? Itemized charges.

Third, is the current website designed to use a CMS like drupal, etc, to facilitate content creators updating their own areas?

Fourth, does this guy have ancillary duties like graphic design for print publications, etc?

Fifth, are there more than one website that he maintains, such as specialized websites for separate services like the Toledo Police, etc.

As for the previous comment of the guy whose business pays $30 for hosting and maintenance--what, exactly, does that "maintenance" include?

Oh, look, a city official online. Time to start spreading the gospel.

Mr Schwartz, do you really want to cut police costs or at least get more for what we're paying for? It's well known amongst the police rank and file that 2/3rds of the police are either driving desks or those "non-service" cruisers. For a city force of about 690 officers, that's 460 officers who are not doing real police duties. So ... if you laid off 10 of those guys, isn't it true that the general public will see ZERO effect upon their street services? Those 10 guys would save us $500K in salary costs, alone.

There are other avenues of saving. For example, you seem to have placed 1 police officer in each high school. Why? Compared to a (naturally, senior) cop in each school for a cool $50K/yr cost, can't you just use a city-hired security guard for half of that amount?

The stories I hear about the sheer waste (har har -- no, I'm serious) in the city water department are representative, I think. They show that you have city departments overstaffed with paycheck-collectors whose primary interest is in counting down the years, months, weeks and days until they retire. They seem to spend a lot of mental energy calculating how much OT they can get away with this year, so they can pack the 2-3 measurement years with pay such that their retirement package is a maximum.

And what about blowing through Homeland Security funds to buy huge displays for the water department? How much money did you waste (har har) there, Mr Schwartz?

While we still have your esteemed attention, what items in the budget grew by that $12M or so (6%) from 2005 to 2006? Please submit an itemized list of these increases to this website by close of business tomorrow, Thursday, March 8th.

I agree!

Say what you want about Carty. Toledo is a better place because of his tenure as Mayor. Maybe, just maybe, we could've been an even BETTER place if Ferner or Wachowski (sp?) or Ford had beaten Carty, but frankly, I doubt it.

...are city employees.

?

You expect the pools to be profitable? PROFITABLE? The idea is not to make money for the city.

Like it or not, the pools are averaging 100 kids a day, and when those kids are swimming there's a lot of things they're NOT doing:

1. Opening up hydrants
2. Smoking weed or cigarettes with their friends
3. Playing video games and increasing their sedentary life
4. Running the streets
5. Vandalism, Shoplifting, and other behaviors arisen from a pack mentality when you get a few kids together
6. Etc.

The truth is, you deride the notion that giving kids something to do with their time is dropping the crime rate. You call it a myth. But you're basically just taking your opinion and dressing it up as fact. You're talking out of your ass.

I've seen hard numbers showing that crime goes up when TPS school is out. Keeping the kids occupied will reduce their opportunity for crime. It gives them a safe, supervised place to get exercise.

You actually think that turning inner city pools into skate parks will somehow draw more than 100 kids a day? When was the last time you've seen a pack of inner city youth skateboarding down Summit street? At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, skateboarding is a white surburban thing.

Hey, you don't think the City should be in the pool business. Fine. I can respect that. But I look at you as a punchline when your big suggestion is to spend untold thousands of dollars to turn them into skate parks.

The pools should (and probably will) stay open. They offer kids and families that cannot afford air conditioning a refuge from summer heat. They offer a supervised opportunity for excellent exercise. They don't cost very much money.

...have a much longer season than pools...good idea!

The idea of skate parks is an interesting one but I think that they should be in addition to the pools.

Cost information can be found here: http://www.spausa.org/park-costs.html If the city is in financial crisis, now is not the time to proceed with this idea unless the parks can be underwritten by a company like Coke or Pepsi, both of which are mentioned in the supplied link.

I found this info:
The average age is 13.2 years and approximately 80% are boys. They are typically passionate
about their sport and focus on self-improvement and learning and mastering

I have lived in Toledo for almost 10 years and I have no idea where the city pools are. Anyone.

What do the kids that are not of the age to use the pools anymore, not cool enough, etc., and then take to the streets and so on and so forth.

Crime is also noted to rise in economic downturns also.

http://toledoohioneighborhoodconcerns.com/blog

The pools could stay open longer than they do. But their attendance would be significantly off before school ends and after school starts. However, we'd still have to have a life guard on duty. So it makes financial sense to keep the pools open when they can do the most good in terms of service to the community.

Why would you expect a skate park to be any different? In addition to the tens- or hundreds-of-thousands of dollars to convert them, you'd need staff at a city run skate park, too. You'd need supervision. It would have overhead, just like the pools.

Furthermore, as soon as kids finished skating they'd scoot home and crack open their fire hydrant to cool off.

I just fail to see why you'd think that a skate park is somehow the answer to pools that are (proposed) to be closed due to budget reasons.

Yes, shaneh - why shouldn't they make enough money to cover their operations AND set aside some funds for future improvements? Where in the city charter or state or national constitution did it become the responsibility of government to provide a pool to residents? or better yet - why is it necessary to take my hard earned wages, through taxation, in order to provide pools so kids have something to do in the summer? (additionally, we could easily get into the discussion about parental responsibility and personal responsibility rather than reliance upon the government to care for our needs...but that's another issue)

Granted, growing up in Point Place we usually had a nice breeze on most hot days, but we didn't have air conditioning and never went to the Detwiler pool. We survived really hot days by getting out the hose and sprinkler and running through it. That required no government involvment and no need for tax dollars to subsidize it.

I guess what I'm saying is that I get the impression your position seems to be that it's a good thing to continue to tax people so that certain others can have an amenity - certainly not a need. And you seem to justify this by appealing to our sympathy for the 'poor kids' (not monetarily poor) who might commit a crime (opening a hydrant, smoking pot, other acts) if they don't have pool to go to in the summer.

Maybe I just don't get it...

No business will sponsor something it doesn't think will be profitable.

The pools are not profitable.

MikeyA

MikeyA

...a good idea...not an answer to the budget problems.

You can skate or bike at such parks all year long - so long as you don't have too much snow.

No - you don't need supervisors or staff. We don't have supervisors or staff at the parks now despite the fact that we have tennis courts and playgrounds...

And the funds for renovation would qualify as capital improvements - meaning that you wouldn't have to use general fund monies...it would only be a matter of scheduling the conversion of the pools and planning for such in the CIP budget...And that would make a lot more sense than spending hundreds of thousands on bike paths, IMHO.

The only downside I see right now (with only a surface look at the issue) is the potential liability. But other communities seem to have overcome this issue and we all know how much our city people like to duplicate what other cities have done...

We survived really hot days by getting out the hose and sprinkler and running through it.

Unfortunately, this is not an option for many of the kids living in apartments or some other housing arrangements. Often, people turn to opening the fire hydrants resulting in all sort of other problems.

Shane you dismissed my earlier post as mere opinion yet you didn't answer the question I posed. If pools reduce crime why aren't we building more pools?

Sure crime goes up when schools are out but it doesn't go down in any correlation to pool usage.

My point is if you want to give kids something to do by giving them a skate park it would probably be used more.

So skateboarding is a white suburban thing? Why does almost every libary in Toledo complain of skateboarders hanging out outside of them? Why does downtown recieve tons of complaints about skateboarders? Those aren't suburbs and dismissing it as a "white thing" probably means there isn't places for black kids to do it.

Currently the pools require staff AND a Toledo Police Officer. Well with a skate park the TPD Officer could just include the park in his normal patrol. Skate parks require NO supervision. They're the equivalent to a park that a basketball court would be. So unless we're paying for people to sit at the basketball courts I doubt we'll need it at a skate park.

MikeyA

MikeyA

...but we also had friends who lived in some apartments and they tended to hang out with those of who had homes and yards and hoses and sprinklers.

I reject the idea that because it's hot it's somehow justifiable to open hydrants - which is illegal - just to cool off. I recognize that it's done, but that doesn't make it right.

Cities have been known to invest in hyrdrant sprinklers, as a way of indulging such desires before people open the hydrants on their own. I've never seen those in use around Toledo. With the pools closing, our Beloved City Leaders may have to pick up a few of them during a bad summer.

... OF COURSE, it would be better to see into the future and assign civil resources towards public use that avoids likely problems. The inner cities are simply too hot during the summer, which we 'burby types tend not to notice. Public fountains that kids can play in is a good move, civilly. They do cost money, sure. So does law enforcement and maintaining an overly large emergency-response system. The police well know that summer nights are the heaviest loads upon them, and the hotter the night, the heavier the calls get.

At any rate, it's a clear matter of financial sense to at least put out the pools for bids to operate them. We can please both fiscal liberals and conservatives in such a fashion. They're closing anyway, so ... why not? I don't believe Schwartz and his Lord And Master have deigned to answer that one.

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