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Councilman: Proposed fees could make Utica public pools self-sustainable

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It's almost that time of year to jump in the pools, but what if there was a cost tied to that day in the sun?

Due to the City of Utica's strained budget and the growing expenses to operate pools, the city's pools may have to eventually close. However, one city councilman is trying to stop it by proposing pool fees that could make the pools self-sustainable.

"The department heads went back and crunched some figures and came back with numbers that said that if we charged a small amount, that income could sustain and reinstate the ability to keep the pools open," says Councilman Jerome McKinsey.

Councilman McKinsey and the Parks Committee are now drawing up legislation to charge pool users $1 a day, $8 per season, or $20 per busload of kids per day. They estimate that would result in revenues of about $195,000 per season.

Some swimmers already see the value in the season pass.

"A dollar is like nothing to me, but $8 for the whole summer, that's something that, like, you don't have to worry about for the whole rest of the summer," says Utica City Pool user Jasbin Daniels.

The new revenue will then go back to the Parks and Recreation Department and the City of Utica Youth Bureau that maintains the pools and hires the lifeguards to man them to keep them open.

"We still have some details to work out," says McKinsey. "We want to make sure it's right. We want to talk to a few different entities to talk about how it would affect them if we did something like this, but we have that option and the option of closing the pools."

Fee or no fee, the Utica City Youth Bureau says the city pools will open this June 25.

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