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10 City Pools Not Opening Next Week, One Councilmember Blames Low Pay For Lifeguards

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - It may be hot and humid outside, but Pittsburgh is only opening eight of its eighteen pools next week. The reason: they don't have enough lifeguards.

It may be because the pay is too low. Now City Council is trying to find more money to pay their lifeguards.

The Sue Murray Pool in Allegheny Commons is one of the pools that will be opening next week, but 10 others will not. And it's not just a shortage of lifeguards. The city is having trouble hiring maintenance people too.

The city's pools are popular, but many will remain quiet and locked up this summer. That's because the city has only been able to hire about 70 of the 200 lifeguards they need.

One reason for that may be the pay. Lifeguards make between $8 and $12 an hour.

City Councilwoman Deborah Gross says it should be about $15 dollars an hour. She's proposing the city find about $400,000 to pay the guards.

"Allegheny County pools have already increased their wages to $15 an hour. Dormont has as well and maybe some of the other municipalities. And I think we should give it a try," said Gross.

"We see fast food restaurants have raised wages. Some of the local businesses in my district have raised their wages, and when they did, they got applicants."

Eight city pools will open next week, 10 won't. The city says as soon as they can hire more staff, they'll open more pools.

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