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Pool losses have drain on city, HRC





Dwindling pool attendance has Hays city commissioners and the Hays Recreation Commission looking at the deep end of shortfalls at the city commission's 6:30 p.m. meeting Thursday at city hall.

With the number of swimmers at Hays Aquatic Park and Wilson Pool falling 22 percent from 2012 to this summer, HRC has a $40,842 loss in its pool operations budget.

The HRC's contract with the city stipulates the two parties split any surpluses or losses with the pools, so each entity's share would be $20,421.

Commissioners will vote on measures to follow the agreement and raise the aquatic park's $3 daily admission fee to $4 for visitors who are at least 3 years old. The last price increase came in 2008.

Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex also is grappling with a loss of $21,884 this year. The city is not obligated to provide financial assistance, and the complex has not requested reimbursement.

Gun rights also are on the agenda. After the Kansas Legislature passed a bill authorizing the concealed carry of firearms in municipal buildings, cities across the state must implement "adequate security measures" for safety, according to the legislation.

The commission will consider a measure to request a four-year exemption from the mandate, make progress on the requirements and continue the ban on guns in city facilities.

Commissioners will vote on a proposal to allocate $798,000 for construction on 41st Street. The bid for the project is $2,939,483, and the Kansas Department of Transportation will subsidize the rest.

There also is a proposal to spend $578,000 on street maintenance. Crack sealing, concrete patching, asphalt replacement and other improvements are planned.

The commission's priorities for the 2014 state legislative session will be shared. There is concern Hays Regional Airport does not have access to state subsides that allow for cheaper travel. Long-term water conservation also was listed.