Carbondale rec center cost recovery right on target | AspenTimes.com
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Carbondale rec center cost recovery right on target

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” Just a year after the Carbondale Recreation and Community Center opened, the facility has already been able to recoup nearly 70 percent of its operation and maintenance costs through fees.

“Our initial projections indicated we weren’t going to reach that level of cost recovery in the first year,” Carbondale Recreation Director Jeff Jackel said.

Through December of 2008, recreation center expenditures totaled $329,175. Membership and class fees, along with facility rentals and concessions brought in $228,576, for a recovery rate of 69.4 percent.

“In other words, the taxpayers are subsidizing the operating costs of the recreation center by 30.57 percent, or $100,599,” Jackel wrote in a recent memo to the Carbondale Board of Trustees.

Roughly the same percentage of recovery has continued through the first two months of this year, he said.

“We’re elated,” Jackel said. “The rec center has been met with a lot of enthusiasm and good public response.”

The industry standard is around 65 to 70 percent cost recovery, he said. But that’s usually not achieved until after a couple of years.

By comparison, the Glenwood Springs Community Center recovers a little more than 60 percent of its costs. But the swimming pool, which Carbondale’s center does not have, also involves more costs, Glenwood Parks and Recreation Director Tom Barnes said.

“Back in 2007, we weren’t recovering anywhere near what would be considered reasonable, especially in our recreation programs,” Barnes said. “The city council mandated that we come up with a cost recovery model that was more acceptable.

“To be between 60 percent and 70 percent for the whole facility, that’s really good,” he said.

Some Carbondale trustees, upon reviewing the numbers, recently said they would like to strive for even greater cost recovery, if possible. But both Jackel and Mayor Michael Hassig said there’s also a price sensitivity when it comes to user fees that the town needs to consider.

“The good news is that we’re ahead of where we would have anticipated we’d be at this point,” Hassig said. “We would really need to think about how much we want to tinker with fees, and the kinds of implications that would create.”

Added Jackel, “Right now we feel it’s very affordable for people to be a member of the rec center. The last thing want to do is raise fees to try to elevate that cost recovery.”


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