Town Contract With Private Firm May Keep Taylor Pool Open

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Two choices.

Shut Payson’s Taylor Pool next summer.

Or give EVO Aquatics a two-year contract to keep it open.

That’s the either-or that did a bellyflop onto the Payson Town Council’s Thursday agenda.

Specifically, Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Cameron Davis has asked the town council to approve a $42,850 annual contract with the Scottsdale-based group, which operated Taylor Pool this summer.

“The Town is responsible for the facility maintenance and operations expenses, which will run $42,850 annually,” wrote Davis in his Council Decision Request memo.

“Bear in mind, if the Town continued to fully operate Taylor Pool, the budget would have to be at least $103,400. Should the council choose not to move forward with this agreement, there would be insufficient funds in the 2011/2012 budget to operate the pool.”

Turning the pool over to EVO Aquatics on a renewable two-year contract will save the town a net of about $30,000 annually, when fees the town might collect are considered.

After operating its own swim program for years, Payson this summer turned the pool over to EVO Aquatics. That resulted in a near doubling of charges for swim lessons, but preserved popular open swim periods at about the same cost.

The new agreement would give EVO a little more money — roughly a 10 percent increase. It would also allow EVO to close the pool’s public swimming period an additional one day a week, with the town’s permission.

The agreement would also mean the town wouldn’t collect the $32,000 it used to charge for various swim fees and lessons, which will now go to EVO instead.

However, among the advantages to the agreement Davis listed:

• Saves the Town money.

• Continues to provide first-class swimming programs.

• Continues to provide Olympic level training and instruction.

• Provides a solution to operate Taylor Pool and keep it open these tough economic times.

The pool would continue to close during the fall and winter and remain open mostly for a summer swim season.

Several years ago, the Valley of the Sun YMCA had offered to take over the pool operations and raise enough money to enclose and heat the pool to make a year-round program.

The YMCA had also offered to build and operate a youth center and athletic club.

The Payson Town Council signed an agreement, but that agreement was overturned as a result of a ballot initiative.

Faced then with a sharp decline in sales taxes and other revenue, the town council approved deep cuts in the recreation program and considered closing the pool until it reached this year’s agreement with EVO to operate the pool.

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