Wednesday, April 21, 1999

City & County of Honolulu

Temporary pool closures
among budget options

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


Closing the city's 18 swimming pools for up to six months is one option being considered by the Parks Department for meeting a potential 2 percent cut of its budget.

Parks Director Bill Balfour yesterday confirmed that he has asked his staff to draw up a proposal showing the consequences of closing the pools temporarily.

"I don't know if (closing the pools) is my first choice, but it's one of my choices," Balfour said. "We have to see what is least disruptive to the public."

City Council members asked each of the city agencies to come up with scenarios on how they would meet across-the-board budget cuts. They said they want to scrap Mayor Jeremy Harris' plan to institute $3-a-week garbage fees by making up the difference through cuts.

Balfour said it would take a six-month closure to come up with $690,000 in savings, 2 percent of his operating budget.

Balfour said if forced to close pools temporarily, the closures won't happen in the summer when the pools are busiest.

Closing pools is also a hot topic in two other counties.

In Maui County, Mayor James Apana has been forced to go to a rotating schedule of closures because of a lack of lifeguards. Apana said fiscal constraints prevent him from hiring more.

In Hawaii County, Mayor Stephen Yamashiro's proposal to permanently shut down four pools because of budget belt-tightening has met opposition from the Big Island Council.

Parks Director Julie Tulang also had been suggesting charging residents to use the pools, a proposal quickly dropped after public outcry.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin