Despite possible downsides, Hurricane City Council approves pool tarp

Hurricane City Pool, Hurricane, Utah | File photo, St. George News

HURRICANE — The Hurricane City Council unanimously approved providing financing for a pool tarp as its first order of business at its meeting Thursday evening, a discussion continued from the meeting two weeks ago.

Jesse Kochel, chairman of the City Pool Committee and a parent of one of the high school swimmers who would benefit from the extended season the tarp would bring to fruition, presented a PowerPoint presentation touting the benefits of the tarp, the main advantage being that it would save 50-70 percent on pool heating costs, according to the website. According to Kochel’s research, the tarp would save the pool $5,200 per year in heating costs.

Hurricane City Pool manager Katie DeMille said that just putting the tarp over the pool when it’s not in use would be a major energy saver.

In addition to the pool heating cost savings, Kochel’s presentation noted that a pool cover would also reduce the pool’s water usage by approximately 90,756 gallons by minimizing the amount of evaporation, and a tarp would also reduce the pool’s chemical costs by 35-60 percent.

A few cons of the tarp, Kochel said, are that pool staff would need to arrive 30 minutes earlier to remove the tarp and stay 30 minutes later to put it back on. Additionally, because of Hurricane’s winds it would need to be secured, but Bryce King, Hurricane recreation director, plans to build a shed for the tarp’s storage so it endures less weathering.

Besides cost savings, another benefit of the tarp is that it would extend the pool’s season. DeMille said the pool would now open earlier in May and stay open until the public school’s fall break in mid-October.

One of the pros of extending the season, Kochel said, is that Hurricane High School swimmers will not have to get up so early or drive so far to practice, because they currently practice at the Washington Community Center. Another advantage cited by Kochel is the expansion of the swimming program.

Swimming could grow more in Hurricane,” Kochel said, “and more Tiger Sharks may join the Hurricane High School swim team.”

King said that extending the season would also make a better market for pool facility rentals.

The cons of extending the season would be wear and tear on pool facilities for an extra few months and the extra costs involved in extending the season, Kochel said.

City Manager Clark Fawcett said the cost for the nearly $25,000 pool cover could be divided three ways: the contingency fund, RAP tax funds and private donations. If it doesn’t work out into perfectly equal contributions, Fawcett said, the city would find some way to make it work.

At the Jan. 6 City Council meeting, Fawcett expressed concerns that committing to the tarp would be akin to writing a blank check and that it might give the impression that the pool was the most important use of RAP tax funds. The topic was tabled until Fawcett and King could do more research on both funding and other outdoor pools.

Personally, they had me at cover,” Councilman Kevin Tervort said as the discussion closed, making a motion to financially support the cover with the initial contribution coming out of the general fund, after which the RAP tax and private donations would kick in.

King said the City Recreation Department would apply for a RAP tax grant for the tarp’s storage facility, and the City Pool Committee would apply for RAP tax funds for the tarp itself.

Parents of high school swimmers in attendance clapped after the council made its affirmative decision to acquire the tarp.

Other business

The City Council discussed the annexation petition of the Copper Rocks area, approximately 900 acres just north of Sky Ranch. City Attorney Fay Reber said the city needed to make sure the petition meets all of the code requirements and that once it is certified, they need to advertise the petition once a week for three weeks to see if there is any protest over it, which has to be in writing. Once that process is over, the city can make a decision on whether to annex the area.

The council unanimously approved an an ordinance amending the Land Use Code, adding Chapter 41, Accessory Dwelling Units, to regulate the use of accessory dwelling units on single family residential owner occupied property to provide additional long-term housing options within the city limits and to make changes in other code sections related to second kitchens.

Toni Foran, city planning director, said doing this is a way to allow for more affordable housing options and that there is no fee and no license must be obtained to have an accessory dwelling unit. However, a detached accessory dwelling cannot be used as a short term rental.

The council unanimously approved the designation of some city-owned parcels in Dixie Springs and near the airport as surplus property, which will be sold.

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