More cash to splash; ramping up camping

It’ll cost more to swim at the Community Pool this year if the township OKs a proposed hike in fees.


By Ron Leir


Unless the township Board of Commissioners have a change of heart on Valentine’s Day – their next scheduled meeting – it’s going to cost more to put a kid through the Lyndhurst Summer Camp and to swim at the Community Pool.

The commissioners are slated to authorize an increase in fees at both venues on Feb. 14.

As stated in the fee ordinance, the township is proposing these increases in recreation fees to reimburse it for the cost of providing the services “and thereby reducing the reliance on the general taxpayer for paying for such services.”

To register for Summer Camp, starting April 1, parents or guardians would have to shell out $300 for the first child – a whopping 71% boost from the current fee of $175.

For a family’s second child, the fee would go from $150 to $250 – a 66.6% increase – and for each additional child, the price would climb from $125 to $200 – a 60% hike.

Parks & Recreation Commissioner Tom DiMaggio said the township needs more cash to meet its expenses.

The Summer Camp “loses money,” he said.

Already heavily used, the Community Pool may expand hours for open swim.


But that’s only because the township didn’t want to whack residents with hefty registration fees to begin with and now it’s trying to make up the deficit, DiMaggio said.

Still, he said, when compared to private camps, people should realize they’re getting a “super bargain.” “When you figure it out, right now we’re getting $300 for a six-week program, five days a week, six hours a day – that comes out to what, $10 a day? That’s still crazy cheap,” DiMaggio said.

And the camp seems to be popular with the kids, the commissioner said.

“Six years ago, we started with 175,” he said. “As of last year, we had 450 children.”

The camp offers a variety of recreational and cultural activities, including basketball, football, soccer, arts and crafts, films and field trips for kids ages five through 12, he said.

DiMaggio said the township last summer hired “between 85 and 90” counselors for which the township allocated $227,730, township records show. Costs for recreation materials and related expenses weren’t available.

For the 2012 camp season, the township anticipates spending possibly as much as $240,000 for wages, according to township Tax Collector Deborah Ferrato.

As for the Community Pool, which opened a year and a half ago, the ordinance calls for increases for both residents and nonresidents, except for senior citizens, whose fees will remain the same for seasonal and full-year memberships.

The new rates for full year members would take effect April 1 while the revised fees for summer and seasonal members would be implemented Sept. 10.

Full year members would take the biggest hits: Resident adults would go from $270 to $365 (a 35% raise); non-resident adults, from $290 to $410 (41% more). Resident children (under 17), would go from $225 to $250; non-resident children, go from $240 to $265. Resident seniors (60+) would stay at $185; non-resident seniors, $200.

For seasonal members, resident adults go from $100 to $135 (35% more); non-resident adults, from $120 to $160 (33% increase). Resident kids, $90 to $100; non-resident kids, $100 to $110. Resident and nonresident seniors remain at $75 and $90, respectively. Fees for a family of four: residents would go from $310 to $325; non-residents, $330 to $350.

Finally, summer members would face these changes: resident adults, $80 to $100; non-resident adults, $100 to $125. Resident kids, $70 to $85; non-resident kids, $90 to $100. Resident seniors stay at $65; non-resident seniors go from $80 to $85. For a family of four, residents, from $230 to $300.

Township fiscal records indicate that $117,025 was budgeted for the pool operations for 2011 but it’s anticipated that $180,000 will be needed for this year, said Ferrato.

“We need to be in a position to pay our bills,” DiMaggio said. “We’ve been holding our own. The pool’s only been open a little over a year and we want to expand the hours during 2012.”

Pool Manager Tom Cofaro said he’s still reviewing the full year membership rates for both residents and nonresidents to determine what would be a fair increase.

“We’re not doing it for loss of revenues,” he said. The idea is to find a “happy medium” that will adequately support expenses for electricity, pump maintenance and chemicals, along with pay for lifeguards and custodians.

The pool also derives revenues from rental fees collected from two private swim clubs – Jersey Flyers and Skyy Swim Team – who are permitted to practice on weeknights and on weekends.

Cofaro said he’s hoping to grow the pool membership of 112, a combination of summer, seasonal and full year. “We’re looking to draw more from the Kearny, North Arlington area; there’s certainly room for more.”

He’s also planning to add a tots swim program for ages 6 months to 3 in the spring or summer. And he’s aiming at extending the weekend open swim for the general public which now runs from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

An aquasize light impact aerobics class for seniors that runs eight weeks has been drawing a lot of folks from Rutherford, in particular, he said. The cost is $39 for weekly sessions or $75 for twice a week.

For school purposes, Monday to Friday, the pool is reserved for physical education classes from 1 to 3 p.m. and for Lyndhurst High swim team practice, from 3 to 5 p.m. Open swim for the public is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m.

During the summer months, kids in day camp get their shot at the pool.

“We also rent out the pool for birthday parties,” Cofaro said.

Learn more about the writer ...