In an effort to offer some relief during the difficult economic times, the Denison City Council voted this week to waive some of its fees to residents.


Among the fees the council elected to waive was the optional Warterloo Pool fee, which is included as a part of the residential water bill each month.


"We just wanted to have some flexibility to work with our customers as they are coming on hard financial times to make sure they can keep water on and they don’t get too far behind in their payments," Denison City Manager Jud Rex said.


The fee was put into place several years ago as a way for the city to recoup the costs of its indoor pool, which remains open throughout the year.


"The Waterloo Pool has been closed for over a month now and will likely stay closed for another few weeks, maybe another month," Rex said.


If a resident has not opted out, a $5 fee will be assessed.


"The purpose of that fee is to offset operating costs and since we haven’t been operating it, but very minimally to treat the water, we want to go ahead and credit that back," Rex said.


In an average month, the city sees between $20,000 and $25,000 go into the fund. With the pool closed through much of March and April, this is approaching about $50,000 that would have gone into the pool operations.


Rex said the city plans to take the funds that have been collected and credit those toward future months once the pool has reopened.


In addition to waiving these fees, the resolution also covers some utility fees, including connection, shut off and late fees that are accrued through the ongoing emergency. In other cases, city leaders said Denison will be flexible with residents who are unable to pay their bills.


In recent weeks, the city has also worked to refund reservations for parks and other public facilities that were made prior to the start of the emergency.


While Rex said the closure of the pool could last another few weeks, he said the waiver of fees for the pool would last as long as the city’s declared emergency continues.


"I don’t see that ending any time soon, so this resolution pretty much coincides with that declaration," he said.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.


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