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Roller Rink Night, Fee Increases and Sports Park Cuts Proposed to Help Close City Budget Gap

Sport Park employees laid off, reduction in hours and an increase of fees part of city's plan in reducing imminent $327,000 budget gap.

In an attempt to help swerve a possible $1.5 million deficit over the next two years, the Sports Park and Recreation Center may take some drastic steps.

A rollerskating night may be held in the gym once a month, baseball and softball leagues may be charged for lighting and near half of staff have already been eliminated.

Since April, the Sports Park and Recreation Center has eliminated five out of 11 employee positions, reduced operating hours from 51 hours a week to 40 and the city terminated the Sports Park maintenance contract.

The Sports Park and Recreation Center is no longer open Saturdays. At one point there was even talk to hand control of the Sports Park and Recreation Center back to the Boys & Girls Club who managed the property in the 1990s.

Since city staff open and close the skate park, hours changes at the Sports Park and Recreation Center will not impact the Imperial Beach Skate Park.

Combined, extra steps presented to City Council May 2 could save the city near $100,000, said director Jim Coates.

City Council took no action on the proposed fee increases. A hearing requesting public comment and final decisions will be scheduled for June.

Other ideas proposed to generate revenue include an increase in usage fees, additional after school programs and increase café sales. Rental of audio equipment and possible advertisement space and sponsorships of the park were also recommended.

Proposed fee increases will be based on a comparison of similar facilities in South San Diego and Chula Vista.

City staff estimates an annual increase of more than $35,000 in increased fee revenue for usage of the gym, music room or BBQ and picnic table rentals and expansion of the Café's menu.

Combined with the money saved from cuts, the city could be $135,585 closer to closing its immediate $327,000 fiscal year shortfall.

City Manager Gary Brown said the projected numbers in fee increases are conservatively estimated by last year's facility usage and other revenue generating ideas.

Sports Park and Recreation Center Director Jim Coates said park facilities are operating smoothly and its closure on Saturdays is an easy transition.

He said Saturdays are high competition between the Café and league snack bars and parking and the most of the park's clientele are Monday through Friday.

"It leaves the park open for those that pay to play little league or softball and the picnic shelters," Coates said.

Mayor Jim Janney said it is now up to council to look at the proposed fee increases and possible revenue streams recommended by staff.

"I think that the reductions that you are doing is a no brainer," Janney said." We had no choice but to do that."

Councilwoman Lorie Bragg said she is most interested in the revenue enhancing ideas.

She said exploring advertising revenue streams, seeking corporate sponsors, renting facilities and fundraising ideas were innovative and had great potential for generating revenue.

She asked if city staff contacted to YMCA to run the programs and Brown said they were exploring the possibility at this time.

"I would like to throw a couple more ideas in there," she said. "A 5K run and an e-waste recycling event. [The] National City Chamber of Commerce did that and raised more than $4,000 in an afternoon."

Janney said he is continuing discussions with the Navy to utilize the facilities for personnel from Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial Beach at times when students are not using the facilities.

Brown said the goal is to have the fee increases in place at the beginning of the new fiscal year July 1.

For a complete list of proposed fee increases, see Item 6.3 in the attached City Council agenda packet.

PISSED OFF May 07, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Wait IBLL doesn't already pay for lights???? THEIVES! They say that's why they charge us $100 to sign our kids up!!!! Padres donated uniforms & they STILL charge $100 what a bunch of jerks!!!
ibcalif May 07, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Sports Park and Recreation Center staff could give up the city trucks they are allowed to drive home at every night and on weekends to use for ... what exactly?

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