Parks & Rec facility usage fees on hold unless supervisors disagree
January 27, 2013
Carson City Parks and Recreation Director Roger Moellendorf doesn’t see a major hike in his department’s facility use fees in the cards unless the Board of Supervisors deals him a new hand.Moellendorf made that apparent Friday during a wide-ranging interview about a 22-page report from Moss-Adams LLP, which assessed facility cost recovery at the Community Center, the Bob Boldrick Theater inside that center, the nearby Aquatic facility and the Arlington Square Ice Rink.“One of the recommendations made by the consultant was raising the fees,” he said. “I’m not sure our fees are that elastic right now.” The last major fee increase, according to the report, came in 2006.Moellendorf said tweaking some things might bring in a bit more money to help offset city general fund subsidy support, but he sounded certain that cost recovery wouldn’t alter significantly from the 48 percent figure of Fiscal Year 2011-12.Moellendorf said if fees were boosted, expectations for more and longer service would bring additional costs. He also said many clients of the facilities are older and on fixed incomes.The report indicated overall FY ’11-12 expenses for all the facilities amount to $996,814 and user fees were $478,798. General fund subsidy support amounted to $474,656, a bit less than the fees. The difference was made up in Question 18 money. Question 18 was the Quality of Life referendum approved in 1996 by voters.At the aquatic facility, with an indoor and outdoor pool plus a workout room, Moellendorf said, a recommendation to raise fees a bit and charge different rates for different usage wouldn’t work well. “We don’t want to get involved in that,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of staff. You also complicate the management.”When it comes to the center’s theater, he said, supervisors would have to decide whether it is for non-profit community productions and related uses or lean more toward renting it for more money.He said past boards have shown a preference for the non-profit route, providing discounts that wound up with those non-profits accounting for 80 percent of the usage.“The first decision,” Moellendorf said, “has to be (this): What is the purpose?” He said a recommendation to consider outsourcing theater management and operations is worth a look, but the danger is supervisors would lose some control. A tradeoff involving facility usage by schools might be jeopardized, he said, and fees for other users undoubtedly would rise under an outside non-profit manager that would have to recover costs without a subsidy. As for the center overall, he said, a recommendation to break out and track different budgeted aspects for the theater, the center and the gymnasium made some sense.But the problem is the same staff is involved in each, so time involved in the breakout effort would detract from time available to actually run the facility.Despite wariness about immediate and significant fee changes, he said the report was valuable. “There is a lot of worth to what the consultant did because it forces you to look at these things,” he said.He said it also provided good news, showing expenses had dropped 9 percent from FY ’09-10 through FY ’11-12, while revenues during the same period increased 23 percent. “We’re working harder and we’re working smarter,” he said.