DeKALB – The DeKalb Park District is making a plan that includes pay raises for seasonal Hopkins Pool employees and pool admission fee increases next summer in preparation for the state minimum wage increase Jan. 1.
According to district documents, district staff are recommending a graduated approach to changes in fees and pool operations over the next three years, to minimize the amount of subsidy required by the district's recreation fund. Under new legislation, minimum wage across the state will increase from $8.25 to $9.25 Jan. 1, and rise again to $10 an hour on July 1.
As a result, the park district’s increase in wages for the pool will total $7,560 in 2020 and an increase of $67,800 through 2025, documents show. The minimum staffing level for Hopkins Pool is five lifeguards, one manager and one cashier.
Gregg Bruggeman, superintendent of recreation, said residents who live in DeKalb and frequent the pool regularly during the summer still might find the better by buying a season pass.
“For a resident in DeKalb, if you come 9.2 times per season, it makes more sense to go with a pass,” Bruggeman said Thursday at the Park Board of Commissioners meeting.
Bruggeman said the goal is to phase the changes in so the $67,800 minimum wage impact is spread out over several years.
To offset the wage increases in the budget, district staff are recommending pool admission fee increases. The proposed increases would generate $14,394 in additional revenue, documents show.
For the 2020 pool season, admission for age children 4 and younger will go up $1, to $3 per pass for residents. Adult residents will go up $6 to $7. For nonresidents, the passes also will go up $1, documents show.
Evening swim rate rates will remain unchanged.
“Once we figure out 2020, we would look at 2021 to raise pass fees,” Bruggeman said. “2022 would look at what our hours of operations are, and how we’re going to address that moving forward.”
Staff also are proposing changing the temperature of when the close the pool from 65 degrees to 68 degrees.
As part of a five-year strategic plan, district leaders say they hope to develop a plan for the pool's future by the end of this year. The goal: either repair or replace the pool, without charging the public more to do it.
The 2019 pool season also fell short of budgetary goals, because of weather and low temperatures, staff have said.