Pool: Navy should help pool
July 3, 2008 · Updated 9:52 PM
North Whidbey is fortunate to have the Vanderzicht Memorial swimming pool. It is largely funded by property tax dollars, and user fees make up only a small portion of its operating revenues. It is not like a burger stand that will make more money if it can attract more customers with discounts to Navy personnel or senior citizen discounts. In this case, higher utilization will require either higher user fees, increased property tax or pool levy revenues to offset the increased operations and maintenance costs.
Navy families deserve a first-rate pool facility. In this situation, when the base closes its pool to family use, it takes a benefit from the Navy community. The Navy should give that back by subsidizing Vanderzicht pool operations. This is not unlike the Federal Impact aid that subsidizes public schools. Funds that would have otherwise have been used for operations and maintenance of the Navy pool for family usage should be granted to the Vanderzicht pool. Granting discounts to Navy families will involve increased operational overhead to support a more complex fee structure at the pool.
One solution would be for the Navy to purchase passes that can be distributed to Navy families. The NWPR should price the passes to offset the increase in operations and maintenance costs and sell them directly to the Navy. This pricing should also take into consideration the lack of property tax revenues from Navy housing. It would then be entirely up to the Navy to decide how much of a discount its families deserve in distributing the passes. They really should charge the same for these passes as they previously did for use of the Navy pool.
When the Navy taketh away from Navy families, it should giveth back to the NWPR, who will provide the services taken away. It would be unfair to the taxpayers who support the pool to have it any other way.