Mayor and Aldermen Support Extended Hours of Swimming Pool Operation

June 7, 2011
Dwayne Page
City Pool on Memorial Day
Tony Poss
Joyce Poss
Several Attendees at City Council Meeting

Hours are set for the operation of the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool.

Currently, the pool is open from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Although he apparently has the authority to set the hours under his lease agreement with the city as tenant of the pool and golf course, Tony Poss felt like he had to come before the mayor and aldermen Monday night to make sure it was okay to keep the pool open as late as 8:00 p.m. especially since Mayor Taft Hendrixson had the issue on the agenda Monday night for discussion, at the request of at least one alderman.

Previous tenants have apparently closed the pool around 5:00 p.m. each day, but Poss said because there have been so many patrons since the pool opened on Memorial Day, there is a need to keep it open til 8:00 p.m. Poss added that since the city can't provide lifeguards for private pool parties, keeping the pool open longer still gives the public a chance to enjoy it after hours. "We're keeping it (pool) open right now from eleven until eight o'clock at night. We've had a good response with it. The public seems to appreciate what we've done. We're doing it kind of as a courtesy to the public. We're definitely not getting rich at it. We're doing it because we want to. We're doing it kind of because we've been requested to do it. Since we couldn't do private parties we've cut the prices down where they (public) can come in for two dollars a head until eight o'clock. The public is welcome. It's not private. I'm just trying to put this issue to rest because it just seems to keep coming back up over and over. We have churches, ball teams, and others wanting to use the pool so can we stay open until eight o'clock? Its your employees. Its your pool. We're trying to run it as efficiently as we can. The pool is clean. I promise you that. I'm taking care of the filters. I'm monitoring the chlorine and ph. I'm very proud of what we've done over there. When we're not maxed out at six or seven o'clock, we send lifeguards home. We're trying not to abuse the system but we do have to have a minimum of three lifeguards there at all times. Its not our decision. It's a decision by the state" said Poss.

Mayor Hendrixson responded "Tony I'm very proud of what you've done and if you have patrons that stay until eight o'clock, that sounds good to me". The aldermen seemed to agree.

Under terms of the lease, Poss hires the lifeguards at the pool but the city must pay their salaries. "The tenant (Poss) shall be responsible for the operation of the Smithville Swimming Pool, to include the hiring of certified lifeguards, however the landlord (City) shall pay their salaries during all hours of operation". However during a discussion last month on how many lifeguards would be needed the aldermen informed Poss, based on a legal opinion by city attorney Vester Parsley, that while the city would be responsible for paying lifeguards during regular hours, it could not use public funds to pay lifeguards during private pool parties after hours.

Meanwhile, if the pool remains a popular attraction after school starts, the aldermen may consider amending Poss's lease to allow him to keep it open for a few hours in the late afternoons or evenings and on weekends for a few extra weeks.

The lease currently states that "the tenant (Poss) agrees to open the pool to the general public on a daily basis beginning with Memorial Day until the first day of the school year as designated by the DeKalb County Board of Education. The tenant (Poss) further agrees to provide at least one day of "FREE" swimming to school children K thru 12 who have successfully passed their most recent school year."

That free swimming day or "Report Card Day" was held on Memorial Day, the opening day of the swimming season.

Several people attending Monday night's meeting were apparently there in support of keeping the pool open longer. Among them was Poss's mother, Joyce Poss, addressed the aldermen "There's a lot of families that don't get off from work until four or five o'clock. Some of them work out of town. This way they can spend time with their children at the pool. While they're there, they can have family time. It also gets a lot of children off the street. The children are going to do something. We need to make sure we have things for our youth to do. Our senior citizens will want to use the pool for exercise reasons. I ask you to keep the pool open until eight o'clock so that everybody can use it," said Poss.

Senior Sneakers, as in the past, will be allowed to use a portion of the pool as early as eight a.m. each day without lifeguards on duty for exercise purposes.

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