BERNARDSVILLE, NJ -- An ordinance that was introduced at the last Borough Council meeting on Jan. 27 has been tabled for further review by the Recreation Committee.
The proposed ordinance included suggested pool fee increases that would cost $495 for a residential family membership, and $695 for a non-residential family membership (the costs would be $425 and $605 for “early bird” signups).
“The pool increase is mainly due to the minimum wage increase,” said Councilwoman Jena McCredie. “They were assuming a $40,000 net increase in their expenses because of the minimum wage increase (which has gone from $9.65 to $10.30).”
Councilman Jeffrey Hammond, pointing out that pool memberships have been declining on a statewide basis, asked, “Would it be better to keep the fee low and maybe we absorb a little bit more loss? It would be worthwhile to find out if people didn’t join because of the cost. We’re losing non-residents as members of the pool. Would we be better served not jacking up the fees on non-residents to try to better capture them?”
McCredie and Councilwoman Christine Zamarra both mentioned the trend of borough residents joining pools outside of Bernardsville.
“(More people) are going to Basking Ridge and Pleasant Valley (pools),” Zamarra said.
“You have people who are away for an entire month in the summer,” Zamarra said, “so that’s why they don’t join, because they’re only getting a month out of it.”
McCredie, who is the council liaison on the 13-person Recreation Committee, said the annual revenue generated by the Bernardsville municipal pool is about $170,000.
The council sent the ordinance with the suggested fee increases back to the Recreation Committee with the request that the committee come back for the Monday night, Feb. 10 meeting with “recommendations for fee increases that are based on the actual cost increase or that program,” said Councilman Thomas O’Dea.