A special Helper City Council meeting was hosted on Thursday evening to discuss the possibility of opening the city pool for the summer months. It was announced previously that the pool did not plan to open due to COVID-19.
Pamela Juliano visited with the council on this, stating that she appreciated the time taken on Thursday evening and the opportunity to come forward in the special meeting. Juliano wanted to explore the idea of opening the pool with a proposal that includes initiating fundraiser and sponsorship campaign opportunities to amend prices as well as an expedited pool preparation process to open the pool. In addition, the city wishes to be able to meet the Utah Department of Health “Utah Leads Together” Health and Economic Reactivation Guidelines.
As discussed earlier this month, the idea was presented to move forward with a solution for opening the pool that would include fundraising. Due to reduced tax revenue as a result of COVID-19, sales tax is down. Juliano expressed that she understands how that impacts a government entity and the challenge of assessing services that are typically deemed non-essential.
Many have come together to discuss this, such as Helper City Councilwomen Amanda Wheeler and Michelle Goldsmith, two of the pool managers, Juliano and more. It was determined that about $50,000 would be needed to open the pool from the end of June through Labor Day Weekend.
With the knowledge that the city does not have those funds in the budget, those involved started exploring ways to move forward. The group made the decision to contact businesses and individuals and request sponsorship or donations.
There are already sponsorships in place for the purchase of lifeguard swimsuits as well as others that are willing to donate to open the pool. It was said that, without going into a great deal of work for the solicitation of funds, it is believed that it would be wise to have fundraising on behalf of the municipal facility. An additional step to that is to make it less of a burden on city staff.
The suggested prices for both individual passes and family season passes were also discussed, though a final decision was not made. It was stated that the additional price per person in a family pass would stay at $20 and a family season pass would allow individuals to participate in a twice-per-month evening swim that would take place in the first and third Fridays of the month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Regular hours were suggested to be 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a senior rate will continue to be offered.
Concerns were raised, such as using volunteers, opening the pool while Carbon County is still in the yellow phase of the pandemic and more. Helper Councilman and City Works representative Gary Harwood remarked that at least 15 days of preparation would be needed to prepare the pool for public use.
Numbers were crunched and Councilman Harwood advised to work toward a $25,000 goal before allowing the pool to be open without quickly running out of funds.
After much discussion and many possible options, Councilwoman Goldsmith made the motion to continue with fundraising for the pool, which was seconded by Councilwoman Wheeler. After a voice-vote, where all council members present agreed, the fundraising was allowed to move forward.