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Increase fees proposed for community center

By BY DAVID TEWES
July 19, 2010 at 2:19 a.m.


OTHER TOPICSThe city council will also consider a resolution of support for the Texas Main Street Urban City Program application to the state.

Organizers said the program would infuse new life into downtown Victoria if it is accepted.

The city's commitment would include funding, starting at $65,065 the first year and increase to $72,700 in the fourth and fifth years.

Renting the Victoria Community Center complex could become more expensive beginning this summer for those who don't already have reservations.

The city council will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday to consider a 5-percent, across-the-board fee increase for the dome, annex, arena and grounds. At least two votes would be required before the action is final.

It will also consider a new charge for tables and chairs, an increase in the early entry fee and an increase in the deposit.

"What we're looking at doing is trying to get a little bit more self-sufficient and trying to reduce our dependence on the hotel-motel tax," said Shane Simon, the city's recreation services manager.

Herschel Vansickle is the treasurer for the Victoria Livestock Show, which is the largest community center customer. He said he hasn't seen the proposal yet, but the stock show may have to increase its admission and concession stand charges.

"I guess it's the cost of doing business," Vansickle said. "But we try to keep as much of the expense off of the participants as we can."

Simon said the stock show pays about $20,000 each year for use of the community center complex, including the 18 days needed for setup, teardown and the actual event.

Simon said the increased rental fee would not apply to contracts already signed and on file, unless there are changes made to the agreements adding a facility. The increase would apply only to the addition.

Simon said, for instance, because the stock show has the community center reserved through 2012, the higher rate wouldn't kick in for it until 2013. "Most of our contracts are a year out and we've got some contracts that are even two years out."

The higher rent is expected to produce about $8,300 in income a year based on 2009 use, once it is fully in effect. Simon said that will be in about two years.

The new fee for the chairs and tables will take effect this summer and will also not apply to existing contracts.

It calls for a charge of $1 per table and 25 cents per chair. That's expected to raise about $29,000 a year beginning in two years.

Staff has also recommended increasing the early entry fee from $50 to $100 per hour for those needing in before 8 a.m. It has also recommended the refundable deposit for the dome, annex, arena and grounds be increased from $200 to $400.

Simon said the city had a marketing analysis and feasibility study done that prompted the proposal to increase the rental fee.

"We realized that compared to other facilities in the region and state, we were not quite up to where they were with rental fees," he said. "So, we decided on a modest increase, we felt, of 5 percent."

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