Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bet Toledo City Council didn't consider 'pool-mageddon' in decision to open city pools

Toledo City Council decided to open several public pools this year, but I can't help but wonder if they bothered to factor in these new costs in their decision:

The Justice Department on Thursday issued a 60-day stay of execution for hundreds of thousands of public pools which had been required to install ramps and wheelchair lifts by today or else face lawsuits over violating disability laws.

President Obama in 2010 dramatically expanded the rules for access under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the new regulations mean that every publicly accessible pool — from municipal facilities to hotels — must have two "accessible means of entry," at least one of which must be a ramp or wheelchair lift. Spas must also have either a lift or a transfer system to help the disabled enter them, under the new rules.

Under the law, non-compliant facilities can be sued — and some lawmakers feared a bonanza for lawyers eager to capitalize.

The impending situation was labeled "pool-mageddon" by opponents, who said there aren't even enough lifts available in the U.S. to make every pool accessible.

It's only a 60-day extension, though some Republicans are trying to pass a bill to repeal the mandate.

This means that Toledo will be required to modify all the pools they plan to open - at costs of around $5,000 each according to a brief Internet search of 'pool lifts for disabled.' And that doesn't include installation, maintenance, or other annual costs of the item.

It will end up costing at least another $30,000 for the six pools - but probably much more.

Of course, they're already planning to spend $277,000 to repair and open Roosevelt Pool. They haven't yet decided which other pools to open, primarily because most are in such disrepair that they cannot be opened and made functional without huge expenditures.

But that's okay - despite their abysmal financial track record - and their penchant for spending money they don't have, including transferring over $62 million out of Toledo Capital Improvement Plan fund, City Council is rejoicing over the fact that voters just renewed the temporary 3/4% payroll income tax.

So council will continue to spend.

After all, if the city doesn't provide swimming opportunities, kids will wither and die this summer - or commit crimes because they didn't have a pool to play in.

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