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Earlier pool closures upset Salina residents

Some Salina residents are upset that the town pools are closing two hours earlier each day than they have in the past. The decision was made in November as part of the town's budget talks; the move saved the town $27,000 in the 2012 budget.

Some Salina residents are upset that the town pools are closing two hours earlier each day than they have in the past. The decision was made in November as part of the town's budget talks; the move saved the town $27,000 in the 2012 budget.

— When the town of Salina pools opened for the season on Friday, June 22, Christine Wood’s kids planned to do the same thing they do every summer: swim as much as they could in their neighborhood pool at Electronics Park.

“My son wanted to go back for the evening, so my husband drove him back, and it was all closed up. I tried looking up the hours, and I couldn’t find them,” Wood said. “There’s a big permanent sign on the wall with the hours posted, saying the pool is open until 8 p.m., but it had closed at 5:45.”

So Wood posted a question on the town’s Facebook page, asking if the hours had permanently changed.

They have.

When the town set its budget last November, in order to save money and limit tax increases for residents, the board agreed to cut the hours at the town pools by two hours every day, closing at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m.

“Through the 2012 budget process, the town board was looking for places to decrease the budget in a number of different ways,” said Supervisor Mark Nicotra. “We looked at our pool hours in general, and we found that pool use during the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. was 80 percent lower than the afternoon hours.”

Nicotra said the decision to cut those hours is saving the town a total of $27,000 in the 2012 budget.

He said that the new pool hours were publicized in the parks department’s newsletters and on their website.

Wood, however, was also disappointed that more of an effort wasn’t made to publicize the change to the hours.

“The town never made any kind of announcement,” she said. “A lot of people still don’t know.”

Nicotra acknowledged that he had received some calls about the change in hours.

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