Hermiston Parks & Recreation Committee - Minutes

Date: 
Thu., Oct. 12, 2017

Call to Order

Chairperson Cortaberria called the regular meeting to order at 5:33pm. Present at the meeting were Stahlberg, Harrison, Garcia, Williams, Severs, Councilor Myers and Davis, Director Fetter, Artz, Robbins, and Wicks.

Minutes

Minutes from April 13, 2017; Board member Harrison so moved and Councilor Davis seconded. Motion carried. Minutes from May 11, 2017; Councilors Davis so moved and Myers seconded.  Motion carried.
Minutes from June 8, 2017; Board member Williams so moved and Councilor Myers seconded. Motion carried. Minutes from July 14, 2017; Councilor Davis so moved and Myers seconded. Motion carried.
Minutes from August 10, 2017; Board member Williams so moved and Harrison seconded. Motion carried.
Minutes from September 14, 2017; Board member Harrison so moved and Councilor Myers seconded. Motion carried

Public Comment

Guests: Kristine Johnson with the Oregon Department of Forestry and Hermiston resident Barry Trapp.

Director Fetter introduced Ms. Johnson to board members and stated he, Ms. Johnson and C. Harrison had meet earlier in the day, walked Steelhead Park and did some brainstorming and assessment about the forestry resources in the area what trees should be kept and what possibilities could be considered.

Giving some background Ms. Johnson stated she is with the Urban Community Tree Forestry Department which is comprised of three people which she is currently assisting with grant projects in La Grande, OR. Her department assists cities to grow and develop Urban Forestry’s within the urban growth boundaries. This could include public trees, starting with the Parks Department then expand out into street trees, or even reaching out to residents and their trees. Ms. Johnson stated within her department there is numerous grant assistance programs for cities that belong to Tree City USA such as tree risk and health readiness which essentially assesses the risk and readiness of the urban forest with invasive species, wildfires, encroachment. Mr. Fetter stated that at one time Hermiston was a member of Tree City USA in which Ms. Johnson indicated the cities certificate would just need to be renewed to become current. S. Williams asked her what it took to keep the certificate current in which Ms. Johnson replied you must file a report every year.

Speaking about Steelhead Park, Councilor Myers asked in removing brush and doing cleanup if there is certain species of brush / vegetation that city would be required to remain? No specific types of trees that cannot be removed however Director Fetter stated from his experience we would want to be sensitive to fish habitat. Mr. Fetter has had conversation with DEO about water quality, water temperature, shade over the river will be taking into account when the cleanup project begins. Another conversation is how to blend the two parks together – Steelhead Park is a more conservation property used for wildlife habitat while Riverfront Park is more for recreation so the department will be working toward striking a balance between the two parks. The Director stated the ethic being talked about is to re-introduce native species where ever possible and keeping trees that could provide value because it lends to shade, shape over the river but being considerate of access and safety as well.

Mr. Fetter thanked Ms. Johnson for taking time to attend the meeting to share her information and resources.

Reports

A) Summer Recap…Slide Show Presentation

Director Fetter introduced Supervisor B. Artz along with Pool Manager K. Robbins who will present a recap of the Hermiston Family Aquatic Center summer season and its activities.

With Mr. Artz jumping into his new position in March, he indicated Robbins did a wonderful job of getting him up to speed with the pool and how it runs, lifeguards, hiring and trainings. Mr. Artz felt it was a successful pool season and commended Ms. Robbins for all the work and long hours she put in, implementing a couple changes which included staffing that proved to be real successful. Mr. Artz provided some pictures from the season in a video and put in on Facebook. Councilor Myers asked how many kids participated in Swim Team this year in which Mr. Artz responded with 40 total, 32 competitive and 8 recreational. From the marketing side the video it had over 2800 views on Facebook and had been scrolled through over 7000 times. He stated the short quick videos captures a lot of attention so he will continue to make a few more, and as time gets closer a video will be made for a pool pass promotion video engaging Facebook. He stated in our community this could be a tremendous marketing tool we can tap into to spread the word about programs. Currently we are offering a Film Kids class with a possible intern that could help in making videos and work within our department to market. Mr. Artz asked the group if they had not already liked the Parks & Recreation Facebook page to do so.

Showing a 2017 financial report total for Revenue/Expenses was $276,762/$366,303 which Mr. Artz stated was right in line with cost recovery of 76 %.

  • Personnel Expenses for 2017 vs 2016 ($245,484 vs 224,119.41) increased partly due to 3% increase in minimum wage and raises given to employees that had worked for us before it was a step up and in addition of the minimum wage increase. Councilor Myers indicated we need to because of their loyalty in coming back to the pool every year. Mr. Arts agreed stating getting 50+ lifeguard to come back each year is very important because of the intense training involved and making sure they all feel confident and comfortable in their position.
  • Total Materials & Services for 2017 vs 2016 ($120,545 vs $123,034) was down 2% and really expected by Pool Manager Robbins. With a pool leak that has repaired it has increased the savings on chemicals and water and the heating of the water.
  • Total Expenditures for 2017 vs 2016 was up 5.4% ($366,030 vs $347,153).
  • Total Revenue for 2017 vs 2016 was up 6% ($271,223. vs $256,187).

2017 Revenue

Admission Revenue for 2017 -2016 was up 6.7% (276,762 vs 258, 327.)

Mr. Arts stated Daily Admissions was up about $14, 000 ($127,840 vs $114,182) from last season with Season Pass sales down ($48,323 vs $67,099) with Swim Lessons increasing $13,000 ($58,417 vs $45,532) from last year.

Individual Splash Pass sales:

  • Family passes ($150) $33, 000 = 211
  • Adult passes ($60) $5,800 = 93
  • Youth passes ($50) $5,100 = 107
  • Senior passes ($50) $5, 040 = 95

Supervisor Artz stated for the prices more families saw the benefit of using the family daily pass instead of purchasing a family pool pass. He indicated families would need to use a season pass 7x to cover the cost and most families didn’t want to commit on an entire summer price. Prices remained the same, hasn’t changed for a couple years. Daily admission for a Family Pass is $20, 2 adult 4 kids – Pool Manager Robbins stated there was a problem in advertising how many children is accepted under the family rate pass so it made it difficult her staff to enforce the limit. Advertised in 3 different places and 3 different announcement - Radio ad was used putting the limit up to 5 children and 2 adults.

Daily Sales:

  • Family Daily ($20) $40,000
  • Child Daily ($4) $35,000
  • Adult ($6) $35,000
  • Teen ($5) $11,800
  • Senior ($5) $3,315
  • Lap Swim ($6) $612
  • Water Walking ($6) $288

Total increase of about $14,000 Daily Admission sales from June 1 through August 30.

Rentals:

The pool offers three different rentals options; Full Facility, Picnic Shelter, and Cabana Rental (NEW). Full Rental:  $15,450 (vs 2016 $9,250)
Picnic Shelter: $2,885 (vs 2016 $2,885) If a day was not rented for the day then the shelter would be available for half the rate for rent.

Cabana Rental (NEW): - $2,090 (vs $2,090) While a work in progress, Mr. Artz hopes to work out details on the Cabana Rental program for the future. The department purchased (4) $300 umbrella’s, setup lounge chairs renting for $10 for 2 hours or $20 for all day. However, with high wind days the Cabanas could not be pre-sold because of the risk of damage or injuring a customer. A recommendation moving forward would be install permanent structures to use year round, provide shade while providing structures for the solar panels. An idea being considered is to offer a sponsorship for these structures allowing businesses to purchase the materials and allowing them to have naming rights on the shelter.

Recreation Supervisor Artz asked the committee to envision 5-6 shelter along back fenced area all connected with curtains down the middle to provide privacy. Director Fetter stated the city does have funding in place for solar panels however there is no funding in place for a structure to mount them on. He had hoped the solar panels could be placed on existing shelter however there would be lack of surface space so the structure idea would give us an option, it would be very popular and provide double use. He stated we can approach council for supporting the funding then thru sponsorship and rental fees help with the recovery of cost.

Cost would be around $4000 for structure only but we would need to add small table and chairs. Manger Robbins indicated customers liked having their own designated space giving them more security with their things. Councilor Davis asked if pricing would remain the same which Mr. Artz stated reasonable rate, it generates revenue, with Robbins chiming in she would not want to compete with the Picnic Shelter which is the primary rental site. The Picnic Shelter is used for the Summer Food Service Program prior to Public swim lessons.

Retail Items:

Retail Revenue total was $7, 178 for 2017 (vs $4,815). Retail items included in sales were Combo Locks, Goggles, Staff Whistles, Sun Screen, Diapers.

2017 Expenses

Staffing: Supervisor Artz reiterated 2017 expenses were up around 5% which had a lot to do with wage increase, Pool Manager, (2) Front Desk Supervisors, (1) Head Lifeguard, (2) Lead Lifeguards, (55) Lifeguard’s/WSI, and (6) Cleaning Crew. Mr. Artz stated in the past pool lifeguards have been used as the cleaning crew so after their shift was over they were burned-out. So a Cleaning Crew was created with staff not having to be Lifeguard Certified. He indicated it was rough from the beginning but once the crew was trained and knew their jobs they kept the pool up nicely with positive feedback coming from both staff and the public.

Materials & Services: $120,030 (vs $123,500): Mr. Artz stated Travel and Training budget increased which was caused by a 3% increase for new hires $10 up from $9.75 along with returning staff raises, trainings for new and returning staff. He indicated in the past the scheduling has been time consuming and a nightmare. With a new scheduling application being implemented half way through the season it made scheduling more efficient, reduced staff hours, and on the pool staff side it could be uploaded to staff phones. S. Williams asked if there is ever over-time associated with the Lifeguards in which Ms. Robbins stated there was ($852.28) and it came from supervisor personnel. She conveyed a large portion of overtime came from training Red Cross Head Lifeguard Trainer, Keith Holman, in addition to CPO training classes for all lifeguards. Director Fetter stated he is challenging both Ms. Robbins and Supervisor Artz to introduce a Junior Lifeguard Program that will be open to 13 year old teen students to get involved on a volunteer basis. He stated this will provided an opportunity for us and our next generation to get them ready to become our future lifeguard staff.
Board member Garcia stated she has been amazed how much her daughter has grown since working as a lifeguard at the pool. Garcia stated her daughter has had only positive remarks to say about her job this year, has learned to manage her time wisely,  in addition to welcoming the new changes/and additional trainings offered this year.

Councilor Myers commented how she was very impressed with the level of attention lifeguards were paying to what they were supposed to paying attention to from previous year. Ms. Robbins stated staff rotated every 20 minutes and during trainings they really impressed upon the staff the importance of being alert and attentive during transition time since this the time when most accidents happen.

Mr. Artz commented on how well Head Life Guard, K. Holman gave lifeguards real life training by spontaneously jumping in water and staff would be expected to save him. This seemed to increase their attentiveness to the water along with providing them with an opportunity to learn.

Supervisor Artz stated minimum wage will be going up again to $10.50 starting July 1, 2018 however it will be implemented at the beginning of the season to avoid any transitions.

Chemicals for the 2017 season decreased significantly with the repair of a pool leak and implementation of new procedures staff followed according to certain circumstances such as the weather, temperature of the water, and how many people were using the pool. Ms. Robbins stated her staff would watch the UV Index forecast which helped determine how much chemical to use. Pool temperatures ranged 3-4 degrees warmer then what was in the past and because of the warmer temperature there many compliments of water being just right. Pool Manager stated even with the increase of temperature of the water still able to bring down the cost.

Working with the cleaning and sanitation Contractor, Ms. Robbins was supplied with a system for free that automatically mixes the cleaning solution eliminating the staff from doing it. The pre-mix has helped save on chemicals. Adding Q-10, a hospital grade disinfectant, for surface cleaning which is much less expensive than of Nutra-Quad also helped in reducing cost and is cleaning better.

Attendance

Showing a graph of Memberships, drop-in, and Spotted Fox sales Mr. Artz stated attendance for the summer was up about 4,000 people.

The Future

Looking ahead Supervisor Artz indicated the department will be actively looking for new pool attractions to encourage more people to the pool. Ms. Robbins has received a quote on permanent stainless steel extensions to replace the white current ones that blow over when the wind comes up and a custom built basketball hoop from the same company. Permanent cabanas are being considered along with fee increases and Jr. Lifeguard program.

Ms. Robbins indicated possible eliminating family daily passes altogether which would encourage families to purchase season pass which would be more convenient and provide guaranteed revenue. Conversations and comparisons with other neighboring aquatic centers are just beginning and Mr. Fetter indicated the staff will bring back information and price recommendations to the board to see how to move forward.

Summer Programs

Offered over 1,400 programs with over 22,000 participant involvement. Pool Programs:

  • Offered 1,340 swim lessons with over 5,820 participants for a revenue of $58,417.
  • Swim team had 40 participants, 300 participants for 4th of July Pool Party with a revenue of $4,090.
  • Teen Night had 466 participants with a revenue of $1,650. *(if teens had a pool pass then they did not pay)

Looking Ahead

Invite Announcement for Sunset Park Dedication, October 25th at 4pm Treats on Main and Beyond, December 31

Missoula Children’s Theater “Aladdin” – October 23-28 – Performance October 28 Children’s Community Theater “The Fearsome Pirate Frank” currently in session Community Tree Lighting Ceremony, December 7

Pancakes with Santa – December 16

2018

Youth & Adult Basketball Adult Volleyball

Partnering with Inland NW Musicians and offering a String Program…with more winter programs

Mr. Fetter thanked Supervisor Artz and Pool Manager Robbins for the work they put into the presentation along with their dedication and quality of marketing programs which will only increase when moving into the Community Center.

Questions:

S. Williams stated the possibility of extending the season has come up before but his question is of the 10 week season when is the busiest time at the pool? Ms. Robbins stated she implemented something new by offering public swim before the school year ended during the pre-season schedule. From 3-8pm public swim was offered with lap swim hours before public swim, 12-1pm and after public swim ends, 8-9pm. Ms. Robbins stated unfortunately it was not successful and lifeguards were sent home. There were a handful of lap swimmers that took advantage of both time slots showing some interest however the public swim hours just didn’t make sense on school nights. She indicated it could have worked over the weekend but couldn’t try it out since there was only one week left of school in session. The weather during this time of the year is also a factor, with one day having to be completely shut down because of the wind that made it impossible to see.

R. Severs questioned where the pre-season information was posted. Ms. Robbins stated it was posted on pool reader board, on Facebook, and in the activity guide. Director Fetter indicated one of the challenges in the summer is we are subject to whatever the school dictates so we are impacted by their decisions. On the tail-end of the season, starting with the Fair, the pool sees a sharp decline in open swim participation because of vacations, families transitioning back into Pre-Fall programing and during this time we are losing lifeguards that are going back to school. Director Fetter stated from a practical point of view the pool could stay open longer but from a cost effective point of view he felt the payoff would be low. Councilor Myers stated the community expects the pool to be open through Labor Day weekend which Mr. Fetter indicated it could be an easy adjustment but beyond he would recommend against it.

B) Community and Conference Center

Mr. Fetter indicated the department is actively spending time preparing to move over in the anticipated month on January with one staff member already there doing scheduling for the Conference Center. Things that are being worked on and need to happen is to have strong policies, an agreed to fee structure and a programing plan. Mr. Fetter stated there has already been some commitments under chamber management for scheduling during 2018 so the process will be a transition year for the department. Where there is space available is where the department will program around. During Council Work Shop several members lobby in favor of introducing culturally things, fine arts, string program, theatre, the department has built an audience and will have control over the facility so will be able to improve and not be subject to schedule fluctuations that has been present in the past. The first year will allow us to work thru the existing commitments and then decide as a group where department’s priorities are. Staff will provide in November policy and fee recommendations based on what chamber has been charging, without making any major changes.

Williams asked if the board could be provided an outline of the recommendations in advance to have a chance to review prior to meeting in which director stated of course.

Supervisor Artz called out again to members if they knew of someone that has a special skill they would like to teach to please have them contact him.
Council Myers stated the perception in the public eye is that the building is truly for the public and the more it is advertised and shown to be true that is what is happening with the building the better off we are.

Guest B. Trapp stated he had a concerns over information he had heard in the community about the Festival of Trees Event. The event will be made to change their date in 2018 because the weekend they have used for years had been reserved by another group. Mr. Trapp said something that we need to avoid. Mr. Fetter echoed his concern, was aware of the oversight and indicated that the scheduling predates city involvement. The event was promised by previous scheduler for a Quinceanera and now that we are in transition and promises have been made our department is stuck in the middle. Negotiations have been worked out with Festival of Trees to schedule on the 2nd weekend of December, 2018. Councilor Myers stressed that high visible community events that has been given certain dates need to have priority. Mr. Fetter stated he is still exploring a resolution to keep both events on the same weekend if it all possible. Mr. Artz reminded the group that the good news is the department will have control of the schedule and community events can be scheduled 5 years out if needed.

The base rental fee for both the Community Center and EOTC Center is very similar, but there is much more opportunities at the EOTC with more optional items to rent depending on the event needs. Mr. Fetter stated the Chamber did a great job over the years of accommodating, marketing and managing the center very well which sometimes that meant groups were treat differently. We will have the opportunity to treat all groups the same with fee structure that will be implemented once it is approved.

Mr. Fetter asked Barry Trapp for an update on Oxbow Trail: Mr. Trapp stated he had meet last week with Mr. Fetter and 2 officials from bureau reclamation, marked 7 or 8 active or recently active homeless encampments. Since then two more has been spotted. Mr. Trapp called the bureau today to inform them of the additional camp sites and during the conversation the official received an incoming call from Law Enforcement of Fish and Game. The Fish and Game Law Enforcement called to let Bureau know they had went out to the Oxbow site, talked to 5-6 people telling them they could be arrested if they stayed on the property and they needed to clean the area up. The Law Enforcement will go back out next week as a follow up to check on people they had already talked to and to talk to others they hadn’t seen before. The garbage in the encampments is pretty bad stated Mr. Trapp, they leave trash, dig holes, and then they move on and do the same thing 50 yards away. These encampments and negative behavior has moved the recreational users to stop using the trail along the river. Mr. Trapp said conversations has revolved around cutting back vegetation during tick season to allow users to continue access and open up the area making it not so private for encampment to set up.

Mr. Fetter appreciated the volunteer work and follow up and feedback Mr. Trapp has done

Blazer/Moda Sunset Park Dedication, October 25

Chairperson B. Cortaberria reminder committee members and guests of the Sunset Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Wednesday, October 25th  at 4pm.

Indoor Aquatic Center Task Force

Director Fetter informed board members City Council has prioritized an Indoor Aquatic Center and a task force has been assembled in which Councilor Myers will be part of.  No time line as to when meetings will begin.

Meeting adjourned at 7:10pm


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