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Ice complex projects surplus

October 19, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

HAGERSTOWN

daniels@herald-mail.com

Officials with the Washington County Sports Foundation, which runs the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex at 580 Security Road, are projecting to close the current fiscal year with a $20,000 surplus, a significant turnaround for the organization which has been plagued by personnel and financial problems in recent years.

"I'm very pleased and positive to say that we have achieved a positive bottom line for the first time in this facility's history," Britton Miller, chairman of the foundation's executive board, said at Tuesday's meeting of the Hagerstown City Council. "I view it as a great achievement. It's something that I hope we can continue and move forward with."

The foundation, which leases the facility from the City of Hagerstown, is responsible for daily operations. The foundation's revenues historically have fallen about $6,000 short annually, the foundation's former chairwoman, Kristy Pottol, said last year.

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As a result, the city drafted a new agreement with the foundation last fall under which the city would agree to spend more money on the arena but the foundation would be subject to more financial scrutiny.

Miller acknowledged Tuesday that the facility had several problems this year, including personnel changes protested by users of the program and embezzlement charges lodged against the arena's manager.

Still, he said, the foundation recorded a $4,729 surplus for its 2004 fiscal year, which ended in June, and is on track to see that figure climb to $19,772 by the end of the current fiscal year. In addition, he said, the facility was able to implement new programs and bring on new personnel that he feels has benefited the complex and its users.

"I believe that this facility has probably been through one of the most turbulent years that the facility could face," he said. "Even above all of this, I think that the facility has excelled at what it has done to bring this facility forward."

Miller said the complex is used nearly equally by Hagerstown residents and those living outside Washington County.

The number of skaters at the complex fell last year from 34,149 to 30,954, and Miller said he hopes to address that lag in the coming months by reaching out to county and regional schools and community groups.

City Finance Director Alfred Martin said he believes the foundation is improving its financial outlook, in part due to the changes in its relationship with the city, and he felt comfortable with Miller's projections for the fiscal year.

"They're moving in a positive direction," he said.




Ice chips



  • The number of users at the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex fell by 3,195 last year.

  • Operating revenues are projected to increase by $129,958 this year.

  • Operating costs are projected to fall by $982 this year.
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