Parma city pools to remain closed this summer

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PARMA, Ohio-- As families begin to make their summer plans, they won't include a trip to city pools in Parma.

All three city pools will remain closed this summer, under the city's proposed $47 million budget for 2015. Parma City Council approved the budget, 9-0, proposed by Mayor Tim DeGeeter, at its meeting Monday evening.

DeGeeter said the city is facing a sharp decline in revenue and can save $200,000 by closing the pools, with plans to reopen them next year. The city has trimmed its workforce through attrition and limiting hiring, but DeGeeter said more cuts are needed.

"We get it; it's very tough and not a decision we want to do," DeGeeter said. "But, looking at our priorities, there's a savings there for us at the end of the day."

DeGeeter pointed to city figures showing Parma is receiving about $4 million less in state funds, compared with 2008. It's also bringing in $1 million less in local property tax revenue over the same time period because of falling property values.

"Looking at the reduction of revenue we have, that we continue to face operating the same way, we have to make some changes," he said.

Increasing recreation fees wouldn't make up enough money, and leaving just one pool open couldn't accommodate all city residents, DeGeeter said.

Some residents called for closing city-owned Ridgewood Golf Course instead of the pools, but DeGeeter said the golf course isn't paid for through the city's general fund but instead through a separate enterprise fund.

Parma officials are in discussions with nearby Seven Hills and Brooklyn to offer reduced pool fees to Parma residents, who will be forced to change summer plans.

"I think it's terrible for the residents that want to use them," Parma mother, Ryan Haynam, said. "They should have the option to take swim classes, and the younger kids need to learn how to swim somewhere."

Other residents said they'd rather see pools close than other city services cut.

"We definitely don't want to give up the fire or police. We don't want to make cuts there, so I guess it has to happen," Shannon Boeset said.

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