Proposal lowers annual fees at community center for city employees

Gary B. Gray • Dec 5, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Johnson City employees could get a 30 percent break on annual membership fees at the new taxpayer-financed Memorial Park Community Center should the City Commission approve a one-page proposal tonight by the Parks and Recreation Department.

This is the first time yearly prices have been publicly introduced, and it comes two days before the center’s grand opening on Saturday. The $15 million, 67,000-square-foot center directly across the street from city hall is being funded by general obligation bonds through the city’s general fund — a fund supported by property and sales tax.

Proposed annual memberships for Johnson City residents 17 and under, seniors 50 and older and military is $335. Resident adults 18-49 would pay $345; family resident passes would be $355. Non-resident prices are roughly $50 higher across the board.

Meanwhile, Johnson City has 901 full and part-time “regular benefit” employees, according to the city’s Human Resources Department. These employees would pay $245 a year under the plan, and the $100 savings applies to both resident and non-resident employees. If all city employees took advantage of the deal it would total $90,100. If only half joined up, that’s $45,050.

“We wanted to put this toward part of our health program,” Parks and Recreation Director Roger Blakeley said Wednesday. “It’s a part of our wellness program. It’s preventative health. If you don’t do that, insurance costs get out of control. The healthier we are the lower our costs will be and doing this is beneficial to taxpayers.”

A notation under the fee schedule indicates that city employees can choose to have the cost automatically deducted from their pay “as an option for a yearly cost of $260.”

City commissioners do receive compensation from the city — about $1,200 a year — but they are not considered city employees, said Bob Wilson, assistant city manager.

Annual rates also are being proposed for aquatics, which would include only open and lap swim at $200 for residents 17 and under, 50 and over and military, and $240 for adults 18-49. Again, the non-resident prices are $50 higher.

Monthly passes are set to stay the same as first revealed in June.

Commissioners also will vote to approve the final, detailed $2.8 million contract with Johnson City’s Thomas Construction Co. for construction of Founder’s Park. The project along West State of Franklin, which will be paid for by stormwater fees from Johnson City property owners, is estimated to cost a total of $4.5 million when design, environmental, architectural, permits and other costs are calculated.

“The City Commission approved awarding the bid to Thomas Construction in September, Don Mauldin, with Lamar Dunn & Associates, said Wednesday. “We’ll have all the contracts for the mayor (Jeff Banyas) to sign, and commissioners will be approving the actual contract as it reads.”

Mauldin said the company will be given notice to proceed “almost immediately.”

The contract time given is 270 days, but there also is weather and other days that would allow the company a certain grace period. The contract shows a contingency fund of more than $133,000.

“If we start January 1, I think we’ll cut the ribbon in September,” he said.

Although it appeared last month that the city had a buyer lined up for the Boys and Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County, discussion was deferred and instruction was given for there to be appraisals done on the organization’s 6.3 acre Market Street lot and a possible alternative location at the old Traco manufacturing property on Silverdale Drive.

The matter is not on tonight’s agenda, but Johnson City’s Brumit Co. has expressed an interest in the property

“The negotiations with all the parties is continuing, and there isn’t a firm proposal to present to the Commission for consideration at this time,” Peterson explained in an email Tuesday.

Recommended for You