04/18/17 — City to operate public pools, lifeguard positions available

View Archive

City to operate public pools, lifeguard positions available

By Staff Reports
Published in News on April 18, 2017 9:57 AM

The city of Goldsboro plans to start offering lifeguard jobs for $10 an hour in an effort to ramp up staffing levels to open the city's two public pools by Memorial Day.

The city, which plans to advertise the jobs this week, will also pay the cost of lifeguard training, estimated at about $200 for each certification.

The Goldsboro City Council made the decision Monday to operate the Mina Weil pool, at 235 House St., and the Peacock pool, at 1503 Herring St., through the Parks and Recreation Department.

A decision was pending after the Goldsboro Family YMCA, which has managed the pools nearly 16 years, decided to no longer contract the service with the city for $15,000 annually. The YMCA has struggled for years with having enough lifeguards, and wanted to focus its strengths on its facilities and YMCA members.

"They have helped us with our pools for many years, and I hate that they won't continue to subsidize us like that, but certainly they have understood their limits and how complicated it is," Mayor Chuck Allen said, during the council's evening work session.

Scott Barnard, Goldsboro parks and recreation director, said he recently learned that the outside company, AquaTech Pool Management, decided it will not be able to manage the pools for the city. The company previously offered the service at an $80,000 cost, but recently backed out.

Barnard recommended to council that the city focus on opening one pool -- the Mina Weil pool -- this year on its typical six-day-per-week schedule.

"That pool provides us to have some backup, redundancy with the staff that worked out of the W.A. Foster Center," Barnard said. "That would likely mean I would be taking three or four full-time staffers and sending them to lifeguard training in pretty short order."

Allen said the city should instead seek to have both of its pools open this summer. The council agreed and will work to open both pools this year.

"At minimum, I think both pools need to ready and, hopefully, we work it out, whether you go back and forth or we man both," Allen said. "To me, our goal needs to be, we need to man both pools. That needs to be our goal. I'm not saying we get there, but we've got to try."

The city would seek to hire a seasonal pool manager, and offer higher hourly pay, instead of minimum wage, Barnard said. The Parks and Recreation Department currently has three certified pool operators on staff.

"We would likely be advertising a rate higher than our competitors, in an attempt to get the lifeguards," Barnard said. "The market for lifeguards is closer to $10."

Scott Stevens, city manager, suggested the city pay the cost of each lifeguard training class.

"One thing I think is an impediment to lifeguards is, at least here locally, kids primarily interested in being lifeguards have to go and get certified," Stevens said. "It's $200 to get certified to make $10 an hour, which means you have to work a long time to get it back."

Stevens said the city has $15,000 in the city budget to operate the pool and would need another $25,000 for the city's cost during the summer months.

Additional costs are expected for operating two pools, and a budget amendment will be presented to council in two weeks. Stevens the traditional Memorial Day opening for the pools will depend on whether the city can hire and train needed staff in time, Stevens said.

During the work session, the council also voted to increase membership and golf cart fees at the Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course, on South Slocumb Street.

The monthly fees will increase to $80 per month, and golf cart fees will increase by $1. Goldsboro residents will receive a 10 percent discount on membership fees, which boosts the monthly cost from about $62 per month to $72, Stevens said.

City residents will also receive a 10 percent discount on green fees, which are charged at market rates, Stevens said.

The increase is an effort to increase golf course revenue, which has raised concerns from city residents as well as the council. The fee changes would start on July 1.

The popularity of evening bus service routes will lead to the Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority offering the service through Labor Day.

The council decided to continue the evening weeknight service, until 8:30 p.m., for the blue and purple routes, due to their popularity and ridership, at a $9,047 cost. One Americans with Disabilities Act van will also operate during the later hours.

The later hours started in February and were originally planned to end on May 5, depending on ridership levels and public interest.

"From a customer-service standpoint, the general public has loved the fact that we're running service later in the evening," said Fred Fontana, GWTA director.

The green route, which makes trips to Wayne Community College and Wayne UNC Health Care, will no longer offer late hours in May, due to low ridership.

Regular GWTA hours are from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The blue route makes stops at Walmart on Spence Avenue, Berkeley Mall, the Peggy Seegars Senior Center and the Wayne County Department of Social Services. The purple route offers service to AMF Boulevard Lanes, the Wayne County Courthouse, Seymour Homes and Lincoln Homes.

In other business, the council:

* Received a report for recommended stormwater maintenance and new fees for residential and commercial properties. No action was taken, and the council will discuss the plan during its next meeting.

* Held a public hearing for changes to the city's ordinance for new internet sweepstake parlors. No one spoke during the hearing.

* Approved contracts for repair work to hurricane-damaged pump stations, including a $203,000 contract with T.A. Loving Co. for repairs to the Big Cherry pump station, $119,000 to T.A. Loving for repairs at the Little Cherry station, $40,190 to Nationwide Electrical Services for 117 pump station repairs, and $33,000 to Pearson Pump for Westbrook station repairs.

* Authorized the sale of $5.5 million in general obligation public improvement bonds, including $3 million for construction of the multisport complex and $2.5 million for street resurfacing and road improvements.

* Authorized the sale of $9.7 million in general obligation refunding bonds to refinance the remaining $2.15 million in outstanding 2008 street bonds and $7.55 million in 2010 sewer bonds.