Pool cuts hours to offset tax cap

Staff Reports

Revenue cuts resulting from the 3-percent cap on property tax enacted by the Nevada Legislature has forced the Carson Valley Swim Center to reduce its hours.

District Chairman Gordon Gray said the pool saved the money by closing an hour early at 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and opening the slide an hour later, at noon in the winter.

"We closed the pool in the evenings because basically nobody was there," Gray said. "We opened the water slide at 11 a.m. in the winter and noon in the summer, so we didn't think it made much sense to open the water slide an hour earlier."

The changes reduced the pool's costs by $27,000 a year.

Gray said any other changes will wait until the fiscal year begins on July 1.

"We'll see how it goes," he said. "The majority of any funds we spend are for staff salaries."

Among some of the plans to cut costs are going back to the hours the swim center kept in 2004, when it opened at 8 a.m. instead of its present hours of 7 a.m. in summer and 7:30 a.m. in winter.

A survey conducted by the district revealed that the Carson Valley Swim Center is open more hours and offers more hours of lap swimming per week with fees equal to or lower than any other facility in Northern Nevada.

The swim center is governed by a five-member board of trustees elected at large within the East Fork District, which includes all of Douglas County east of the Sierra's Carson Range.

Pay for trustees was set at $150 apiece when the district was formed in 1988. Only three board members actually draw a salary. The other two decline pay in exchange for pool services. Those board members who draw a salary must pay regular membership fees.

"We're the lowest paid salaried board in the county," said Gray, who estimates he spends 10 hours a week conducting pool business. "The whole board is putting in similar time. We have a very hard working board."

The tax cap was approved after assessed values of homes in Nevada skyrocketed, which would have increased homeowner's tax bills in some cases, doubling them.

Most governments took a hit as a result of the tax cap, which was set at 3 percent for homes and 7 percent for rentals and businesses.

The decrease in taxes will result in a decrease in the operating tax revenue of the East Fork Swimming Pool District of between $63,000-$83,000.

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A customer survey will be included in the May 2006 issue of Splash Magazine.


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