- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

LE CENTER, Minn. (AP) - Despite the number of people who flock to city pools across Minnesota to beat the heat during the summer months, most of them often end up losing money, according to local officials.

Many pools in the Mankato area are operating with a loss, supplemented either by city money or other sources of revenue, The Free Press (http://bit.ly/1I2iecU ) reported. But pools in Le Center and St. Peter haven’t made significant increases to their pool passes and fees to make up for the loss.

“If it’s for families, which our pool is built for, you can’t charge them so much they can’t use it,” said Jane Timmerman, director of St. Peter’s Community Center.

This year, the center increased daily admission slightly from $2.50 to $3, with family passes increasing from $25 to $40. Its pool has an operating budget over $175,000 and only brings in about $45,000 through pool passes and admission.

“There’s been times in the past when things were tough and people have suggested cutting the pool to help the budget,” Timmerman said. “But that just doesn’t fly here … I think the community just really supports it and they support the fact that their tax dollars are being used that way.”

Tourtellotte Pool in Mankato lost about $50,000 last year. Le Center’s outdoor pool loses about $20,000 each year, and receives $25,000 from the city’s municipal liquor store to make up the difference.

Pools in the three cities also are finding it more difficult to balance their budgets with the recent minimum wage increases.

Mankato officials have approved a $99,000 contract with the YMCA to bolster salaries and cover administrative costs. St. Peter is raising salaries in January, and Le Center is considering doing so sometime next year.

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Information from: The Free Press, http://www.mankatofreepress.com

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