From that post:
Last year, the pools served 25,151 entrants. The city did not keep track of how many of those 'entrants' were the same individual. They also charged $1 for entry.
In 2007, there were six pools open (one was a splash pad) compared to the 12 facilities opened in 2006. Despite the increased attendance at two of the pools, overall attendance at the six facilities declined 18.5% from 30,841 to 25,151.
As these numbers are visits and not visitors, it's hard to estimate just how important this cost is to the general public. For sake of argument, let's estimate that individuals likely to use the pool facilities will do so five times during the season. This seems a reasonable estimate considering the number of days the pools are open.
Using this assumption, the pools had about 5,000 unique visitors. The 2006 Census data shows that there are 74,896 children (under 18 years of age) in Toledo. Even if every visitor to the pools was a child, we would be serving less than 7% of the kids in the city. If we consider total population, those estimated 5,000 unique visitors represent less than 2% of the population.
Yet the city is planning to spend about $600,000 for this - which is about $120 per person served. It would be cheaper to buy every kid in the city a membership to the Boys and Girls Club ($5 per year for 16-18 year olds, but only $3 for 7-15 year olds) which would give them access to ALL activities, not just the pools.
I've just received the 2008 attendance information from the city: 23,675. That's a 6% decrease over last year - and remember that 2007 attendance was down 18.5% over 2006. And those numbers are visits, not unique individuals.
Using the same logic as before, if each person visited the pool five times in the season, then we're serving about 4,735 citizens. According to the 2007 Census data for Toledo, there are 73,095 residents under the age of 18. So if every person who visited the pool was under 18, which is certainly not a given, we're only serving 6% of the youth population. Since children did not always go without an adult, when you calculate the number served based upon the total city population, you'll see we are serving 1.6% of Toledoans. And that's using the older, smaller population number - not the increased population number Mayor Carty Finkbeiner worked so hard to get increased.
The total cost for 2008 for the pools, according to the 2009 Toledo budget was $219,234.44. Total revenue was $19,297.50, though the budgeted amount was $32,320.00, a loss of $13,022.50 or 40%. (With results like this is it any wonder the city had a 2008 deficit?)
So we spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars to make sure that 1.6% of the population had a 'service' and we ended 2008 with either an $8 million or $16 million deficit, depending on what city administrator you ask...
Pools are NOT a necessity, but the 'quality of life' issue is always raised as an excuse for such non-essential expenditures. So did this expenditure enhance YOUR quality of life? And was this expenditure more important than the police and fire classes we did NOT have as a result of last year's deficit?
Do you think City Council has learned the lesson from last year? Or will they again fund such non-essentials like pools, and ice rinks and athletic programs while laying off police officers and charging us for fire equipment used during a response?
Southern cities like Charleston, SC, and Memphis, TN are looking better all the time.
Lest you think this really doesn't impact you, remember that the city is looking to 'enhance revenue' by increasing the trash taxes. The decrease in police and the new fees for fire response will directly impact your insurance rates, driving them up. Combine that with the decrease in population and your home values will continue to decline. The spending by the Mayor and City Council - and the use of precious and limited tax dollars for non-essentials - impacts every single person in Toledo.
What are you willing to do about it?