Pool fee change worries advocacy group

MINDEN - A plan to drop a separate fee for disabled users of the Carson Valley Swim Center has an advocacy group worried that some of its clients will be priced out of the pool.

Pool officials say they think the change wouldn't affect many people and there are other, less expensive options.

The East Fork Swimming Pool District board has been mulling a recommendation to drop the $1.50 day use fee charged to disabled users and instead have them pay the charge that applies to their age group. For users under 17 or over 55, that wouldn't mean a change, because children and seniors pay $1.50. For disabled people aged 18 to 54, the day rate would climb to $3 - the current adult price.

The proposal has the attention of the Carson City Center for Independent Living, an advocacy group that provides resources to people in Carson, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties.

"We're just concerned for the disabled community and the impact this could have on their recreational opportunities," said Dee Dee Foremaster, a resource specialist for the group. "We're not a bunch that want to take advantage of the system, but the fee needs to be there for the truly low-income disabled."

Pool district officials began discussing the possible fee change in October, during an annual review of pool fees. They say a variety of factors, ranging from difficulties administering the disabled fee to assessing different user groups fairly, led to the potential change.

"We're concerned about trying to be as equitable as possible and as affordable as possible," said Bill Hamilton, vice chairman of the pool board. "It has always been part of the operating principle to make that pool as accessible to disabled people as possible and as affordable as possible. We're trying to balance everyone."

In addition to day rates, residents of the pool district can buy monthly, quarterly and annual passes. Children under 17 and seniors (over 55) can buy a monthly pass for $15, a three-month pass for $36.50 or an annual pass for $125.

Adults pay twice those amounts for the passes. Anyone can buy a card with 15 swims for $18, or $1.20 per use.

The East Fork board has tried to set rates that would generate 30 percent to 33 percent of the operating costs. With the addition of water slides and new pools, scheduled to open this year, the board approached the annual fee review knowing increases might be needed.

The pool board meets again Feb. 17.

Current fee: disabled person pay $1.50

Proposed fee: disabled persons 0-17, $1.50; 18-54, $3; 0ver-55, $1.50


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