Memorial Pool Membership Flat, Revenues Up
Over the past decade, Memorial Pool membership rates have remained mostly stable, while revenues have increased in line with higher fees.
Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that nothing in life was certain except death and taxes.
Had he lived another 220-some years and relocated to Fair Lawn, perhaps Franklin would have added steady Memorial Pool membership rates to the list.
Over the past decade, membership rates at the pool have hardly fluctuated. From 2004 to 2011, the number of annual pool memberships has ranged from a low of 4149 in 2009, to a high of 4743 in 2006. On average, 4,500 people join the pool each year, or about 14 percent of the borough's population.
The most discernible dip in membership occurred in 2009, directly following the economic collapse in the fall of 2008. Pool membership has since recovered to its pre-financial crisis levels, but it hasn't increased as some had predicted might occur with more families sacrificing a trip to the shore for a cheaper beach simulation staycation in Fair Lawn.
While membership rates have stayed mostly flat over the past decade, revenues have increased in recent years as membership fees have risen and the borough has started to allow non-residents to join for a higher fee.
Last year, the pool generated just under $280,000 -- almost 40 percent more than it brought in a decade earlier in 2002, and better than the rate of inflation over that period of time.
While the borough doesn't break out the actual costs to operate the pool from the entire recreation department spend, operating the pool costs significantly more than it brings in through membership fees.
In March, Deputy Mayor Ed Trawinski said he thought it cost the borough between $600,000 and $750,000 annually to run the pool.
Total membership rates and revenues generated for this year won't be complete until end of summer, but thus far membership seems to be on track.
During the pool's first weekend this summer, director Scott Homa said that any concerns residents might have had over the damage wreaked by last year's hurricane had not been reflected in the number of signups, which, up to that point, were in line with or higher than signups in years past.
Memorial Pool Membership Breakdown (2004-2011):
*The borough began accepting non-resident memberships in 2010
Pool Revenues (2002-2011):