Council considers 2021 waterpark rates

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — The 2021 Sidney Waterpark rates were discussed during Monday evening’s Sidney City Council workshop session.

Duane Gaier, parks and recreation director, led the discussion on the waterpark rates, which were approved by City Council at its March 9, 2020, meeting. Gaier recommends keeping the rates the same as was approved last year for the 2020 season, with the exception of the rental fees.

The Sidney Waterpark did not open in 2020, but council did approve some rate increases last year. For 2021, city staff recommended the daily admission for preschool children to be set at $4.50, up from $4 in 2019, and for adults, seniors and youth to remain at $4.50. The individual-only season pass will cost $35, up from $34 in 2019. Replacement photo season passes will remain at $15. All active military personnel on leave who show proper identification would continue to be admitted for free.

Rentals fees, Gaier said, are a pass through from SwimSafe Pool Management contract to the patrons. SwimSafe is the company contracted to run pool operations. Below are the recommended pool rental rates:

• After hour pool rental, for events like pool parties — $360 ($300 was approved in 2020)

• Training rentals for swim team or therapy sessions — $80 per hour ($15 per hour per guard was approved in 2020)

• Water aerobics for The Senior Center of Sidney-Shelby County — $180 per session.

The budgeted season pass sales, daily admissions and pool party revenue for 2021 is $67,100. Gaier said this is roughly 14.8% higher than the 2019 actual revenue of $58,449 and does not include donations for swim lessons and the general fund subsidy. Donations for pool lessons are budgeted at $6,000 to cover the expected contract costs.

The city’s goal, he said, is to recover 40% of the park’s operating costs; the remaining costs and capital expenditures are subsidized by the general fund. Taking into consideration the decline in attendance since 2009, budgeted revenue for 2021 will cover approximately 31.2% of the budgeted expenditures.

No changes were recommended to the Water Park’s hours/lap swim option, Gaier said. During the summer season, the pool will be open:

• Monday through Thursday open 1:30 to 7:30 p.m.

— Lap swim is 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the south end of large pool in the area where lanes are roped-off.

— The remaining pool(s) will be open for family swim.

— Pool rental is not available on these four days.

• Friday and Saturday open 1 to 7 p.m.

— No lap swim.

— Pool rental is available 7 to 9 p.m.

• Sunday open 1 to 6:30 p.m.

— No lap swim.

— Pool rental is available 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

After Gaier’s presentation, during a brief discussion Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan expressed a desire to host a “free waterpark” day.

According to City Clerk Kari Egbert, she received a clarification from Gaier about his response to Milligan on hosting a “free waterpark” day. He noted, while admission would not be free, SwimSafe intends to host special activities on four different dates to draw additional potential patrons to the facility. He plans to evaluate the potential of offering a free admission day to be put into the contract for the 2022 season.

At the end of the discussion, City Council directed Gaier to bring back legislation on the waterpark rates for further consideration at the March 8 meeting.

In other business, at the end of the meeting during the city manager’s comments, Mark Cundiff shared that after consulting with the city’s aggregation consultant, he signed an agreement with Volunteer Energy, the current supplier, for a fixed natural gas rate of $0.0429 per hundred cubic feet (CCF) for a two year fixed term beginning in April 2021.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.