Mitchell pool rules may changePlan would affect family passes, base rates at local facility.
By: Chris Huber, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell Parks and Recreation Board has given preliminary approval to a restructuring of family passes at the Outdoor Aquatic Center.
The proposal would allow up to four people to be on one pass for the base rate of $120. Those people must either be legally married, or be children or siblings. Mitchell Parks and Recreation Director Dusty Rodiek said four children who are siblings could be covered under a family pass. Children must be under the age of 22 and must be able to be claimed as a dependent. For an additional $15, a person who meets the criteria can be added to a family pass. A single child season pass is $60.
Under the old structure, anyone living in a household was able to be on one family pass.
“Basically, we want to provide a more clear definition of who is covered under a family pass,” Rodiek said. “In the past, we have had people abusing the system by putting as many as 15 people on one family pass and we need that to stop.”
One person contacted The Daily Republic upset about the change but did not want to go on the record. The person said the change would be unfair for large families and wanted to know why the base number was set at four people per family.
One perception is that the proposed change will increase revenue at the pool.
Rodiek said the pool has operated at a loss since it opened in 2006, losing around $40,000 per year. Last year, the pool was in the red $36,300.
That number was the second best year since the pool opened; the best year came during its first when it lost roughly $26,000.
Despite those numbers, Rodiek said the issue of fee restructuring is not as much of an issue of raising revenue but instead a matter of equality.
“We had families of three paying the same as 15 people at times. We didn’t feel like that was fair,” Rodiek said.
Setting the base number at four people for a family was decided on by the park board. Other communities in South Dakota, such as Watertown and Brookings, have similar rules.
Nearby Sioux Falls, however, allows for all immediate family members living in the household to be covered under a family pass at its Drake Springs Family Aquatic Center.
Rodiek thinks this proposal is a good way for users of the facility to help pay for it. He said he understand that larger families may feel like the new fee structure is targeting them.
“It really would be no different from staying at a hotel and having an extra charge for a rollaway bed,” he said.
The proposal will need to be approved by the Mitchell City Council before it becomes official. The issue will likely be discussed at Monday’s council meeting.