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City staff dives into pool contract specifications

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Concrete and tile border the five-foot deep end of the outdoor swimming pool at the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center. Behind the outdoor pool is the natatorium, or indoor pool. (Alison Penn Photo)

The city’s General Services Committee voted earlier this week to send a pool management contract for the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center to the full Roswell City Council.

On Wednesday afternoon, Councilors Savino Sanchez, Jacob Roebuck, Angela Moore and Juan Oropesa listened to a presentation from Elizabeth Gilbert, city director of administrative services, about the aquatic-side management contract with United Pool Management of Roswell, Georgia.

Roebuck made the motion, Oropesa seconded and the vote was unanimous. The committee also determined there will be no meeting next month.

For some history, Gilbert said a request for proposals was released in February and was approved at the City Council meeting on May 10, allowing City Manager Joe Neeb to begin negotiations with the United Pool.

If the council approves, Gilbert said the agreement is set to begin in February, to allow United Pool to prepare by planning programming, hiring on the aquatic side, marketing and handling other pool-related matters such as fees. She said the company will assist in commissioning, or starting up, the pool and does offer training for lifeguards and aquatics management that are accessible to the city.

The committee discussed having July 1 as the potential opening date for the entire facility after City Manager Joe Neeb made that recommendation.

“With the aquatics, we also have to look at safety,” Jim Burress, director of Parks and Recreation, said. “You really have to be comfortable with your staff taking care of other people’s children and so I feel more comfortable with the first of July — just so I can work out the bugs.

“If we’re ready sooner … we may have some special events with certain segments of the city, whether it is the school district or the councilors or whatever, and do some more testing so it is almost like a soft opening.”

Gilbert said the city will develop a budget for the pool and the company will be in charge of purchasing items for and managing the pool. She said the will city reimburse the company monthly.

In addition, Gilbert explained the monthly fee paid by the city to United Pool is $4,000, with 12 percent of labor costs. Parker Patterson, deputy city attorney, explained the fee is controlled based on operating expenses — in case it goes above 20 percent of labor costs. Gilbert added the city and United Pool will have a check-in every year to make sure expectations are being met and to go over the finances.

Gilbert said the total term of the agreement is four years. Patterson explained the contract spells out an initial one-year term, with subsequent annual options to renew, for three additional years. Gilbert said the company’s lawyers have reviewed the document and Patterson said there was “much gnashing of teeth” during the drafting of the document between the city’s and company’s lawyers.

Moore asked if the agreement still allowed the city to potentially take over the pool as discussed in previous meetings. Patterson said the contract has a phase-out term that would create a transition year for the pool to be managed by the city.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.