I-Team: SNHD pool and restaurant proposals tabled for now

LAS VEGAS - Local businesses and property owners dodged a couple of bullets Thursday when the Board of Health voted to table two sweeping proposals regarding food safety and swimming pools.

The proposals from the staff at the Southern Nevada Health District could be costly for many residents and it came as a surprise, even to the board which oversees health policy.

The I-Team's George Knapp has been reporting about turmoil within the district and was at the meeting Thursday morning.

Health District staff cited problems at so-called party pools at local resorts as the backdrop for sweeping changes in how all aquatic facilities are regulated -- not just the day clubs and water parks, but also pools and spas in apartment complexes or the ones controlled by homeowner associations.

Board members were presented with a 374-page document, including 170 pages of new regulations. Requiring automatic chemical dispensers in all regulated pools and spas was among the changes. 

Apartment managers and HOA members lined up to complain about the cost, thousands of dollars per pool or spa; money which would have to be passed on through higher rent or association fees.

"The numbers I'm seeing are not $1,000 to $5000. They're between $4000 and $10,000, per body or pool," said Barbara Holland, the apartment manager.

"We have three pools and three spas," said Lee McKitton, an HOA manager.  "To do this would cost an enormous amount of money and put a hardship on our residents."

Health District staff members accused the day clubs and resort operators of hiding problems or covering up water quality issues. That prompted board members Chris Giunchigliani and Marilyn Kirkpatrick to pepper them with questions, pointing out that the health district doesn't even work on the weekends when those pools are the busiest.  And they asked why staff didn't tell the board about a drowning incident at Cowabunga Bay water park a while back.
  
The board decided to table the plan and told staff to come back in six months with revisions.

The other hot button issue on Thursday was a proposal to hike fees on businesses which handle food. District managers say they need to raise millions of dollars. 

Most board members didn't know about the proposal until the I-Team reported it earlier this week. They complained that the staff has told them diddly about how it would affect local businesses, so that too was tabled until next month.
 
Management at the Health District went 0-for-2 Thursday, but they'll be back.


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