Leon Valley
TX

Staff Report
17-49

Discuss and Consider Possible Action on Forest Oaks Pool Report

Information

Department:Public WorksSponsors:
Category:Report

Attachments

  1. PPT Forest Oaks Pool Report 6-20-17

Item Discussion

PURPOSE

 

The purpose of this M & C is to report to the City Council on the Forest Oaks pool season start up concerns, revenues received to date for both pools; and to discuss and consider possible action on a few housekeeping items in the pool management policies.

 

The City now owns and operates two pools, being the Forest Oaks Pool at 6221 Evers Road and the Leon Valley Community Pool at 6600 Strawflower. The City Council and staff have received some concerns regarding the Forest Oaks pool operations and water quality, and general pool management company policies at both pools. Staff has also received several compliments on the new pool management. At the June 6, 2017, City Council Meeting, the Mayor asked for an up- to-date revenue report.

 

This report will attempt to explain/alleviate the concerns, report the compliments, provide a revenue snapshot as of June 7th, and obtain direction from City Council on some aspects of pool policy for both City-owned pools.

 

A brief timeline of events is as follows:

 

·              2015-16 - Discussions with Forest Oaks Community Association about possible transfer of pool facility - pool committee formed

·              Sept 2016 - City Council voted to accept the donation of the Forest Oaks Clubhouse & Pool facility

·              Feb 8, 2017 - Electric and water service cut to FO Pool facility

·              Feb 21, 2017 - Formal transfer of deed to City

·              Mar-Apr 17 - Mr. Kelly cared for FO pool, SA Pool Management cared for LV pool

·              April 2017 - City approved Sela Aquatics as the pool management company for both pool facilities, along with pool policy and fees

·              May 2017 - Hired Interpool to care for FO pool and perform repairs

·              May 26, 2017 - Sela Aquatics took over maintenance and care for both pools & pools open for business

 

Some of the concerns received by both staff and Council include the Forest Oaks Pool being green (algae) on opening day; children ages 13-16 don’t need babysitting - just supervision; can’t use pool flotation devices other than noodles or coast guard approve vests/floats; the lifeguards are too strict and regimented; the City shouldn’t be charging fees for pool usage; is pool manager even a Certified Pool Operator; and an offensive sign at one of the pools.

 

The Forest Oaks Pool was slightly cloudy and there was some dirt on the bottom of the pool in some places on opening day. The pool was clean and clear the previous day; however, PW employees were power washing decks, tables, chairs and other surfaces, and the electrical bonding contractor was coring cement to insert the copper wiring, which caused some dirt to enter pool. The pool was tested and found to be sanitary, but had too much stabilizer (cyanuric acid). The pool was safe for entry and so it was opened to the public for the weekend. The following Tuesday, the pool was partially drained, lowering amount of stabilizer to near normal levels, then scrubbed and vacuumed and the water is now clear.

 

Another issue was that the pool policies were too strict when it came to the “age of responsibility”. Some residents are of the opinion that children ages 13-16 don’t need to be babysat at the pool, just supervised, and that the lifeguards are too regimented. In the experience of most pool managers, this is the age where rough housing intensifies and when most accidents happen, as teenagers are taking more risks than when they are younger. Without a responsible adult present, the lifeguards would have to find/call the parents in an emergency. Staff actually received a statement from another pool member thanking the lifeguards for being so diligent - she applauds their vigilance. The lifeguards are required to rotate around the perimeter of the pool every 15 minutes.

 

Several complaints have been received about not being able to use personal flotation devices. Large rafts and other floatables are not allowed at the pool, as they can block the lifeguard’s line of sight. The company does allow children under age 16 to have pool noodles, small inflatable rings, and arm wings, if they meet 1 of 2 conditions:

 

1. A parent/guardian is in the pool within arms’ reach of the child (if no life jacket or puddle hopper is worn).

2. A Coast Guard approved flotation device (life jacket or puddle hoppers) is worn while the child has the noodle in the pool.

 

Pool noodles are a safety concern for four reasons:

 

1. Children who can’t swim rely on the noodle as a primary flotation device and they are not classified as lifesaving devices.

2. A child can easily slip off of a noodle and begin struggling, which is why a parent is required to be in the water if no lifejacket is worn.

3. Drowning is typically silent and a child would most likely not be able to call for help if he/she slipped off the noodle and couldn’t swim.

4. The foam breaks down easily and clogs filters/skimmers

 

The requirements of this policy have reduced the Sela Aquatics number of lifeguard entries into the water by about 80% at all of the pools they manage. Many public pools ban all flotation devices, regardless of parental presence, which is not this company’s intention. While most 12 year olds can swim, pools get very busy during the summer so the company must apply the rules consistently. One of the pool management company’s jobs is to put policies and procedures in place to reduce the risk of serious injury and/or drowning. The company is trying to balance fun with safety, but since drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in children up to age 14, the company takes its preventative measures seriously.

 

Sela Aquatics is considering adjusting the age from 16 to 12, but no final call has been made, as they are still weighing options and looking at statistics from the past three years of rescues and lifeguard entries. A final decision will be made soon and it will be communicated to all employees of the company. The City does not direct any company’s “methods and means” as this could lead to a liability on the City’s part.

 

Staff contacted the Texas Municipal League (TML) to ask what they would recommend and they sent a publication, Aquatics Risk Management, which states that an age determination should be made as to when a child is allowed at the pool by themselves. It further states that the rule should also specify the age of the responsible adult. For example, an older brother or sister who is thirteen would probably not be considered an adult to watch over a six year old. The manual goes on to say that aquatic staff should remind parents to watch their children and those children that don’t know how to swim should be within arm’s reach of a parent. It also suggests considering swim tests before allowing individuals to swim without direct adult supervision.

 

As for the fees being charged, staff received an email thanking the City for charging fees, as they felt the ability to just walk in and use the facilities resulted in persons not appreciating the space - guests were leaving the pool area messy and it was overcrowded at times. Staff received another email that stated the person was pleased with the new management and thankful that the pool passes were so affordable.

 

The City is expending $91,000 for pool management, $18,000 on pool rehabilitation, and will spend an additional $20,000 to $50,000 for facility rehabilitation at Forest Oaks (1970’s and not up to code). Some of the repairs include:

 

·              Electrical panel replacement

·              Retaining wall repairs

·              Pump room cover replacement

·              Water heater replacement

·              General electrical rewiring

·              Repairing missing ceiling above chemical room & HVAC closet

 

The Pool Manager is a Certified Pool Manager, Lifeguard Instructor, and Water Safety Instructor; all lifeguards are certified; the company uses specific software to track pool chemical balance, lifeguard station changes, pool usage, complaints/compliments, and water quality. In addition, all complaints and compliments are immediately transmitted to the corporate office via the internet.

 

The last complaint received was about an offensive sign. The City placed temporary banners on fences, but there is no other signage outside of pool areas, other than required addressing. The interior signage about the company not being a babysitting service was modified to remind parents to supervise their children at all times.

 

The contractor has asked to amend the contract to allow sale of ice cream, drinks, and assorted snacks (will obtain sales tax permit). They would also like to provide water aerobics classes for a fee. They would like to add “other programs” to the contract, just in case something else fun comes along. Both Staff and the company are noticing signs of abuse of the $200 family membership cap. We are recommending removal of the $200 per family cap.

 

SEE LEON VALLEY

 

Social Equity - Providing the citizens with additional recreational amenities adds to the overall quality of life.

 

Economic Development - Increasing available recreational facilities may entice more residents, which would attract more businesses to either stay in or relocate to Leon Valley.

 

Environmental Stewardship - Having neighborhood swimming pools allows residents to walk to a recreational opportunity, instead of drive, which results in lower pollutants from vehicles.

 

FISCAL IMPACT

 

The contractual fee allocation is as follows:

 

·              Daily Gate Fees                                           100% City

·              Season Passes                                           100% City

·              Day Care / Groups                                          100% City

·              Swim Lessons                                          25% City

·              Pool Parties                                                        100% City               (less costs of labor if extra guards                                                                                                   are brought in)

·              Facility Rental                                          100% City               (less costs of labor if extra guards                                                                                                   are brought in)

·              Swim Team                                                        50% City

 

All fees due to City will be revenues minus online and/or credit card processing fees. Following are the fees collected to date:

 

Category Item                                                        Collected

 

·              F&B                                                                      $84.00

·              Gate/Entry Fees                                          $2,128.00

·              Party/Rentals                                          $750.00

·              Passes Sold at City Hall                            $4,670.00

·              Season Passes - Online Sales              $4,853.29

·              Swim Lessons                                          $600.00

·              Swim Team                                                        $2,500.00

·              Total                                                                      $15,585.29

 

 

 

Document Comments

RECOMMENDATION

 

It is recommended that the $200 per family revenue cap be removed, that the contract between SELA Aquatics and the City be amended to add "other programming", and that the City continue to support SELA Aquatics policies and procedures related to safety.

 

Meeting History

Jun 20, 2017 6:00 PM  City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft

Public Works Director Melinda Moritz presented this item to report to the City Council on the Forest Oaks pool season start up concerns, revenues received to date for both pools; and to discuss and consider possible action on a few housekeeping items in the pool management policies.

The presentation was followed by a brief discussion.

A motion was made by Council Member Monica Alcocer and seconded by Council Member Belinda Ealy to amend the contract to add other programs to allow concessions and other water programs and other reasonable programs as recommended and agreed to between Sela and the City of Leon Valley.

Council Member David Jordan requested that Sela and staff report back to City Council with revenue from the added programs.

RESULT:APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Monica Alcocer, Council Place 3
SECONDER:Belinda Ealy, Council Place 2
AYES:Benny Martinez, Belinda Ealy, Monica Alcocer, David Jordan

Discussion