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Edited news release:
Since the first of the year, City Council, together with the Parks Advisory & Stormwater committees, has searched for solutions to help fund the city’s parks and stormwater operations and maintenance. Discussions involved a possible stormwater/parks sales tax initiative and the privatization of the Community Center’s second floor as a fitness facility. A request for proposal (RFP) advertising the availability of the second floor enticed the Ozarks Regional YMCA to submit a partnership proposal for Council’s consideration.
The public has been invited to share their opinions on the YMCA proposal that transfers responsibilities of Nixa Parks recreational programs to the YMCA at two public meetings held on July 5 and July 9. Here’s what that proposal would mean for the city in terms of dollars and cents.
Currently, the city’s general fund supports several aspects of the Nixa Parks Department including building and pool reserves, bond debt for past parks improvements, capital improvement projects and any operational expenses that surpass the revenues that parks programs produce. In 2011, total parks expenses equaled $1.2 million, and the Nixa Parks Department generated a total of $431,000 of that amount. The city’s general fund makes-up the remaining amount to balance the Nixa Parks Department’s annual budget.
With the plan the YMCA is proposing, the city would retain ownership of its buildings and the pool but hand over its recreational programs and operations. In the proposal, the city would continue to fund past bond debt, property and liability insurance, building and pool reserves for maintenance of these city assets, and other parks capital improvement projects. The city would realize a savings of any operational expenses it is paying that surpass current parks revenues, which took a hit in 2011 with the loss of both the SafeBase program (a before and after school care program) and the Mercy (formerly St. John’s) Fitness Center in 2010. Before the loss of these two entities, the general fund was supplementing around $318,000 annually in additional operating expenses for the department. That figured has since risen to $445,000 in 2011 and $403,000 is budgeted for 2012.
With the YMCA proposal, the city would experience a savings of nearly $400,000 annually after three
years. The first three years of the proposal consists of start-up costs and entering into a contract for
service. The city would contract with the YMCA to provide the same levels of recreational programming that the city currently provides. After three years, the total cost to the city for the entire Parks Department would hold steady at around $70,000 annually.
City Council invites citizens to weigh in on this important decision. The final public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, July 9 at Nixa City Hall. A representative from the YMCA will go over the proposal and discuss in further detail the dollars and cents of this decision. City Council will then seek input from Nixa citizens as they focus on the future of the Nixa Parks Department.
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