Pool ends season in the black

VERGENNES — Vergennes officials’ first summer of overseeing the city’s Sam Fishman Pool went well, City Manager Mel Hawley told aldermen at their meeting last Tuesday night, and it ended with a surplus of roughly $10,000.
The city accepted ownership of the pool this spring from the Vergennes ID school board, which ceased operations earlier this year per a 2009 vote of city residents. That board owned the land under the pool and the city’s other nearby recreation facilities, as well as an adjacent 8-acre parcel of land accessed from New Haven Road by a right-of-way.
Volunteers on a pool committee had operated the pool, but this summer pool operations were folded into City Hall, although committee member Linda Hawley volunteered to stay on to schedule pool workers and coordinate registration, and pool director Roland Guyette also remained on the job as a city employee.
Mel Hawley, who praised both holdovers’ efforts, said he had been concerned about the cost of operating the pool because pools tend to be money-losing propositions in other Vermont towns.
Instead, the city manager said revenue exceed expectations by $2,400, while expenses were about $5,700 less than budgeted. Coupled with an inherited $2,000 revenue fund balance, the pool now has the surplus of about $10,000.
And things ran smoothly, Hawley said.
“It’s been good. I look forward to next year,” he said.
Hawley did acknowledge the $6,000 of support aldermen dedicate every year to the pool, plus the annual $2,000 donation from the Fishman family. He also said there are “hidden costs,” including his management time, bookkeeping work done by City Clerk Joan Devine and other City Hall employees, and the efforts of public works employees, who received training from Guyette on pool operations and performed some routine maintenance.
“Public works has absorbed some work, but it’s not a huge endeavor,” he said.
The pool will need a new $4,000 pump, but other sources of funds should keep the replacement cost under $3,000, Hawley said.
In all, aldermen said they were happy with the situation and the transition of a key asset to city control.
“That pool is a real jewel of the city,” said Alderman Joe Klopfenstein.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.
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