DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Memorial Day weekend -- the unofficial start to summer, which also means pools.
While pools are important to attracting residents and providing activity options, the operation can be costly.
Over the last five fiscal years, the city of Dubuque has lost an average of $239,988 per year in their aquatic program- a price being paid by the taxpayers.
A TV9 review of the numbers from fiscal years 2014 to 2018 shows the city has actually gone from a net loss as high as $320,496 in 2015 to $173,602 during the 2018 fiscal year.
In order to reduce the gap during that time frame, the city increased the price of admission from $1 to $4, and changed the way it operates- including running their own concession stand.
"[The price of the stand] is another number that we are seeing as being able to reduce that subsidy that we have, because of the revenue that's generated," said Dan Kroger, Recreation Division Manager for the City of Dubuque. "Yes, there is an additional cost with staff, but the additional revenue generated from that service is much greater than what we're doing with the staff."
Kroger said because of these changes, pool revenue has increased by nearly $150,000 in the last five years in Dubuque. In the last five fiscal years, while expenses for the pools have remained relatively constant, the revenue has increased more than 60-percent.
In addition to running its own concession stand rather than contracting the space out, the city changed the way they keep the pools clean with a different kind of chlorine.
Kroger said even if the pools were not showing increased revenue, the city says it is vital to keep them open.
"Some of the aspects we do here like the swim lessons and things are life skills that are extremely important, especially being a river town," Kroger said. "There's a lot of activities that we have along the river, a campground and different things, so having our children know how to swim is extremely important."
Kroger said people have been lining up to get their pool passes so far this year, a sign that revenue very may well increase for the fifth straight year.
Both the Flora Park Pool and Sutton Pool in Dubuque will open Saturday, May 26. If interested in getting a swim pass,