OUR VIEW: Pool pass increase about fair treatment of familiesFor some families, the proposed change could result in a substantial increase in payment for their kids to spend time at Mitchell Aquatic Center, in Hitchcock Park.
Rest assured, some patrons of the local swimming pool must be disappointed that the city is considering a change in how it charges for family passes. After all, for some families, the proposed change could result in a substantial increase in payment for their kids to spend time at Mitchell Aquatic Center, in Hitchcock Park.
The proposal, which was forwarded by the Parks and Recreation Board, would allow only four people to be on one family pass for the base rate of $120. Those people must be either legally married adults, or be children or siblings. Children on the pass must be 22 or younger, and must be able to be claimed as a dependent.
For additional children to be included on the pass, families will have to pay an additional $15 apiece.
In years past, anyone living in a household was able to be included on a single family pass. We suppose some were abusing the system, but even those who were not intentionally manipulating the system have been taking advantage of a program that was weighted in favor of large families.
For example, a family of three was paying $120 for a summertime pool pass — the same as a family of 14.
Since it costs money to run the pool, it only makes sense that larger families be required to pay a little more than smaller families. No offense intended — it’s just simple math. More users should equal a larger cost.
Will a new family-pass system solve all of the monetary issues at the pool? Certainly not.
The Aquatic Center has operated in the red to the tune of $30,000 to $40,000 annually. That’s bothersome, no doubt, but we also feel that it’s a service that should be provided by a city of this size, even if it means a deficit at the end of each season.
A revised system for family passes shouldn’t be about running the pool in the black, but it is about fairness.