The swim team that uses the city's pool expects to present a plan this week to New Port Richey officials that would boost what families pay each month but is less than what the city has proposed, the group’s president said.
In addition, the swim team would be willing to pay for some items the pool needs, such as a $4,000 pool cover, said Hal Blethroad, president of the New Port Richey branch of the Tampa Bay Aquatics swim team.
“We’re going to purchase some of the big-ticket items,” he said. “The city was subsidizing the swim team all these years. We just want to flip that around.”
An exact list of major purchases the swim team is willing to make hasn’t been resolved but it could include looking at problems with the pool’s pumps, according to Blethroad. The purchases would depend on what the pool needs.
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“We could subsidize things that get cut from the city budget,” he said.
The group wants to work out an agreement the City Council can discuss at the Nov. 20 meeting, he said.
The plan is different than what the city has proposed that centers on an hourly fee of $12 to use the pool. That amount would end up costing the team about $1,000 a month, Blethroad said. The team uses the pool year round.
As part of moves to curb city expenses, the City Council eliminated the position of the coach who trained the team and used some of the money to pay for two part-time lifeguard positions. The move would save the city about $4,700 a year, according to a memo to council members.
Blethroad said the swim team intends to reach its own deal to retain a coach and there were no plans for the cost to be passed directly to the swimmers.
Until Oct. 1 when the city’s new budget year started, families paid the city $50 a month for the roughly 20 members of the team that use the pool at the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center. Under the team’s proposal to the city, families would pay Tampa Bay Aquatics directly, not the city.
Under the Tampa Bay Aquatics proposal, the group would pay the city a flat fee of $200 a month for the pool starting Jan. 1 in addition to purchasing improvements for the facility, Blethroad said.
The group also plans to raise its monthly fee for families to $60 a month.
If the City Council stays with its original fee proposal the cost to families would go to $80 a month, he said.
About 20 swimmers are part of the New Port Richey group, the smallest of 10 branches of Tampa Bay Aquatics that includes teams in Brandon, Tampa Palms, Westchase and Lakeland.
In addition to Tampa Bay Aquatics, teams from Gulf and Ridgewood high schools use the pool for meets.
If the council rejects the team’s offer, the group will have to alter its proposal.
“Then we’d have to make some kind of modification,” Blethroad said.