To The Editor:
Several members of the Middletown Swim and Tennis Club have been working hard behind the scenes to salvage the municipal pool club and protect our community asset from the township’s misguided and rash plan to close and auction this valuable taxpayer asset.
At its January public meeting, the Middletown Township Committee announced the 2012 Middletown Swim and Tennis Club was in jeopardy of not opening due to their claim the pool club ran a deficit for the last three years of their 15-year ownership. The Township Committee cited a drop in membership for it’s revenue shortfall and said they would listen to any viable solution in order to open the swim club this summer.
The SOS Committee (Save Our Swim Club) was formed to do just that. This group, comprised mostly of local business people, professionals, teachers and residents, collected financial records and township documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Their finding showed a slight drop in membership but a sustainable membership base all the same.
The SOS Committee has developed a business plan – not only to operate the complex budget – but also provide a surplus necessary for future upgrades, ADA requirements and possible expansion. The plan includes moderate increases for cabana members with separate fees for membership. The SOS business plan also includes modified fees for the swim team, swim lessons, tennis lessons, day camp and daily day passes. Recommendations by the SOS Committee include ways to generate additional memberships and revenue through concession rentals and controlling daily attendance traffic into the pool club.
However, on Feb. 6, 2012 the Township Committee held a planning meeting with motions to dissolve the pool club utility and set into motion the sale of the pool club property with deed restrictions, over continued pleas to slow the process, allowing more time for all interested parties to present their proposals on managing the pool club. They only sprung the news on the 1,100+ members early this January in a press release. Prior to the Jan. 6 Town Hall meeting, there was no mention of the pool utility dissolution…
The SOS Committee has found a sympathetic ear on the Township Committee noting with just 10 years left on the bond service, the annual payment will reduce by $100,000 in just 5 years, allowing the Middletown Swim and Tennis Club to run at a surplus of over $150,000 per year with an operating season only 80 days long. This is even before proposed cost-saving and added revenue plans that the SOS committee has prepared. It does not make any sense why the Township of Middletown should make such a hasty and abrupt decision without looking for solutions. The township has mismanaged the club for the past 3-4 years and instead of taking the steps to correct their mistakes, they are now looking to sweep all of the problems under a rug. How can we let this happen to our community? Aren’t our children, seniors and families worth it?
For more information, email: MiddletownSOS@gmail.com or visit our
“Save the Middletown Swim and Tennis Club” page on Facebook
Save Our Swim Club Committee