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Ice rink subsidy decrease predicted

January 18, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

The privately operated Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex will still need city funds to operate but the necessary subsidy will decrease in future years, according to five-year budget projections for the ice rink presented Tuesday.

In July the City Council approved spending $217,908 on the ice rink, which was on top of $229,200 previously committed by the council. The contributions were expected to cover some back bills and keep the rink operating through August 2000.

According to budget projections the city will be asked for about $165,000 for the 2000-2001 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The requested city contribution to the ice rink will decrease by $10,000 in each of the following two fiscal years, and go down $20,000 in each of the two years after that.

That means the requested contribution from the city in the 2004-2005 fiscal year is projected to be about $105,000, according to the estimates presented Tuesday.

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The budget projections are based on an expected 10 percent annual increase in income at the ice rink.

The budget projections were included in a five-year business plan for the ice rink, which was presented to Hagerstown's Mayor and City Council on Tuesday. The business plan was developed by the Washington County Sports Foundation, the nonprofit group that oversees rink operations.

Jamie Shyda, executive director at the ice rink, told the mayor and council, "it's a tight budget. But (a) conservative, realistic budget."

Shyda said more people from West Virginia are coming to the ice rink and said 25 percent of the 68 birthday parties they have scheduled are for people from West Virginia.

Total revenues for the rink are up about 15 percent compared to the previous winter season.

Shyda said the rink took in about $99,000 in September through December 1998, and about $113,000 during those same months in 1999.

The five-year business plan included information on plans for the rink, including offering summer skating and hockey camps, hosting hockey tournaments, and promoting special events at the rink.

Council members said Tuesday they were pleased with the plan.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein, the lone vote against providing additional funding for the rink in July, did not attend Tuesday's council meeting.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said Tuesday, "We are looking at serious budget concerns. I hope we can keep this."

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