A day at the pool to cost more
The cost of a day at Hillsboro’s swimming pool will go up this summer.
Hillsboro city administrator Matt Stiles told city council members Tuesday that prices needed to be adjusted to keep the pool open.
“One of the issues is wages,” Stiles said. “We really have found that we are not competitive on wages.”
Employment shortages mean many entry-level summer jobs are paying more than in the past, Stiles said.
Many local employers are paying $10 or more per hour for summer help.
“It’s like anything else in the labor market right now: If you want a job, you can find one,” Stiles said.
He recommended increasing wages by $1 an hour for all pool staff.
Chemical costs are increasing as well, Stiles said.
He recommended increasing prices of single and family passes to offset part of the costs of increased wages and higher chemical prices.
A single season pass would go from $95 to $110; a family pass would go from $180 to $210; a lap swim pass would go from $60 to $75; and a caregiver pass for a non-swimmer would go from $30 to $40.
Mayor Lou Thurston said he didn’t want pool decisions to have to come back to the council, so he wanted to give Stiles and the pool manager latitude if they get into a bind.
“There isn’t anybody that I know who is not aware of inflation,” Thurston said.
Instead of voting to increase the price of season passes, council members cast a unanimous vote to give the pool manager and city administrator flexibility to adjust employee pay and admission cost.
In other business Tuesday, council members learned that a leaking roof on a building that houses a welding center for Hutchinson Community College would cost the city $31,320 to repair.
The college pays no rent for the portions of the old American Milk Producers, Inc. building it uses for welding classes. The facility is rent-free as part of a partnership between the city, the school district, and the college.
Stiles told council members the roof was leaking in three sections.
He contacted Mahaney Group, a Wichita commercial roofing contractor, to evaluate the roof.
“The partnership with the welding school is important to the community,” Stiles said.
Council members voted unanimously to have the roof repaired.
Council members also heard an update on a senior class proposal to rebuild a pond in Hillsboro Heights.
Stiles gave council members a letter from street supervisor Dale Dalke, who estimated the cost to rent an excavator for dirt work at $1,810 per month and limestone rip rap to go around the pond at $9,500.
Council members did not vote whether to proceed with work.
They also reviewed progress on the city’s five-year strategic plan.
Efforts to develop a community child-care center are focusing on Trinity Mennonite Church.
“We’re looking to have child care for 99 kids,” Stiles said. “That’s probably not enough, but that’s what we’re looking at.”
An $80,000 challenge grant has been established in hope of raising money for an amphitheater and to complete the city’s downtown community plaza.
Council members approved an ordinance changing the zoning of 408 and 410 S. Adams St. so Tabor College can build a maintenance building there. The ordinance changes the zoning from residential to school.
County commissioner Jonah Gehring told council members the county was thinking of building a new county shop and might decide to build it in Hillsboro.
“I think we have land that definitely would be convenient for that purpose,” Thurston said. “We’ve got to get past that idea that it’s all individual communities. In a county like ours, we’ve got to work together.”