Ice rink finishes in the black, but relies on city assistance

November 08, 2006|by CANDICE BOSELY

The Hagerstown Ice and Sports Complex ended the most recent fiscal year with "something other than a negative bottom line," due in part to continued financial support from the city, its board of directors chairman said.

Britton Miller, chairman of the complex's 12-person board of directors, gave a status report to Hagerstown City Council members Tuesday. He said it is the second year that the complex has finished its fiscal year in the black financially.

He acknowledged the support and help from the city.

Al Martin, the city's finance director, said the city pays the ice rink's annual utilities bill - which is made up of electric, natural gas, water and sewer expenses.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, the city paid $64,697.

For the current fiscal year, the city budgeted $80,000 for utilities, based on expected increases in electricity and gas costs, Martin said.


The city also is paying off $1.2 million in bonds from 1997 used to help build the facility. The city pays $114,600 a year, with the bonds being a 15-year obligation that ends in the year 2012, Martin said.

In the last fiscal year, the ice rink made $332,617 in income - excluding the city's financial support - and spent $327,993. Its final profit was nearly $4,624.

Several projects that need to be completed at the rink include maintaining its compressors, sound equipment and water tower, adding a camera-based security system, finding space to install donated workout equipment and moving the rink's lighting and sound system equipment to the front office, Miller said.

Highlights from the past year include an increase in revenue of $51,000, the addition of two new programs - gymnastics and recreational hockey - and an 11 percent increase in participation in programs. The number of people who participated in public skating sessions increased by more than 2,850, Miller said.

Because the ice is nearly full all of the time with program participants, an increase in revenue will need to come from increasing advertising income or getting more people to attend the rink's programs, Miller said.

"This community has an asset that not too many in this region can boast of," Miller said of the rink, saying it could contribute to the development of a professional hockey player or Olympian.

City Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire noted that when the city's annual bond and utilities payments are added together, the city is putting $188,000 into the rink.

Martin corrected Aleshire's math, noting that if the utilities costs are what has been budgeted, the city is contributing more than $194,000 in the joint endeavor.

"It definitely is a partnership, a public-private partnership," Martin said.

Council members listened to the presentation but took no action.

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