What’s plan B?
Currently, the Rec center is generating 90% of the revenue needed to fund operations. The question is: Is the rec center and what it offers to the people of Yorkville, worth the additional 10%? Many of the programs offered at the Rec Center are unique and not readily available at other facilities. The unique structure of the building allows for a wider range of activities to be offered to a broader group of residents, such as swimming and the basketball courts. There are no privately-owned buildings or fitness operations with the capacity of our Rec Center open in Yorkville.
The Rec Center is an integral part of the Parks and Rec department, the department has run at a surplus by overseeing its operations out of the rec center building, thus reducing the cost of running the department. This allows money to be returned to the city's general fund budget totaling $280,000 since leasing the building in fiscal year '09. Each year we don't use the transfer money from the city, that money goes back to the general fund. The city council should consider combining the 79 (parks) and 80(rec center) budget instead of keeping them separate. Including the Rec Center in our total budget, as a line item cost, would allow the city to track revenues and costs and operate the entire Parks & Rec department with a continued budget surplus. To date the Rec Center has had a revenue of $2 million dollars, and by removing the tax liability and utilities, with building ownership, would only increase this revenue. The city council should keep an open mind about the option to buy the Rec Center, not simply to eliminate a line item cost from the budget but to consider if we lose the Rec center what are the ramifications to the Parks and Rec department? Without the revenue generated by the rec center would we then be potentially operating at a loss and not a surplus? What is plan B?
Some people will argue that our city shouldn’t operate a business that a private enterprise could offer. That is a fair point of view, generally speaking. It’s when we get in to the specifics about what the Rec Center offers that we start to see the Rec Center as not only an indoor park, pool and open gym but a base of operations for staff and all the inner-workings of maintaining a Parks and recreation Department.
By maintaining the operations of the Rec Center, through ownership of the building, we will give the United City of Yorkville another reason to be called a “playful” city. Let’s find a way to keep this asset and not just eliminate what some see as a liability.
Letters to the Editor should be e-mailed to Yorkville Patch Editor Jillian Duchnowski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name and a telephone number so Duchnowski can confirm the sender's identity.
In addition, here are some Patch articles about the lease and finances:
• Dec. 13: City Cancels REC Center Lease
• Dec. 12: REC Center Lease up for Vote Tuesday
• Nov. 23: City Likely to Cancel REC Center Lease
• Nov. 7: Reader Poll and Letter to the Editor: Yorkville's REC Center
• Sept. 29:
• June 20:
• June 20:
• April 17: