FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 8, 2020
City Manager Robb Corbett 541-966-0201
Pendleton, Ore. — The decision to close the Pendleton pool this summer was a very difficult decision to make. The City understands the importance of the pool in this community. However, due to social distancing regulations put upon the pool to protect our citizens from COVID and the reduction in revenue this would have, it became a necessary decision to make.
The cost to run the pool is the same, no matter how many paying customers we have. Current state regulations for Phase II re-opening would put a maximum occupancy for our aquatic center at 100 people allowed at any one time, which is significantly less than we can handle and need to offset our costs. Staff looked at a variety of cost saving options including: only opening one of the pools, reducing hours, not heating the pools, and reducing staffing. But a large financial gap still remained.
In the coming fiscal year, the total cost of running the Pendleton Aquatic Center was budgeted at $607,300. The aquatic center also generates revenue from multiple sources including: season passes, general admission, swimming lessons, and concessions. These revenues are budgeted to total $335,000. Taking the projected revenues and deducting the budgeted expenditures gives you the net subsidy for the pool, which for this coming budget year would be $272,300. Attendance restrictions due to COVID would dramatically increase this subsidy.
During the last recession, many cities saw reduced general fund revenue due to people falling behind on their property taxes. It is likely we will see some of that as a result of this pandemic. To what extent we are not sure. The City also expects to collect less transient room tax from hotel lodging that is anticipated to be reduced due to the cancellation of some large tourist events in town. This means that like many cities across the nation, the City of Pendleton is looking at cuts to the current budget to balance these anticipated losses in revenue.